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The original item was published from 1/24/2022 2:24:00 PM to 1/26/2022 12:08:56 PM.

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Posted on: January 24, 2022

[ARCHIVED] COVID-19 Work Session: Cases, Hospital Surge, Updated Mask Guidance

County COVID-19 Update (Banner (Landscape))

In a span of two weeks, Cochise County has reached a record number of COVID-19 cases with over 1,500 cases reported on week two of the new year. As the more contagious Omicron variant continues to spread in Arizona, Cochise County follows the state’s trend of having seen more COVID-19 cases in the past weeks, than any other week of the pandemic.

On Friday, Cochise Health and Social Services (CHSS) met with the Board of Supervisors to present its bi-weekly update on the status of COVID-19 within Cochise County. CHSS staff shared various data, charts, and information for the public’s awareness of the current state of COVID-19 within our county. Here’s what Cochise County residents should know. 

COVID-19 Cases and Trends 

“Cochise County’s COVID-19 cases have increased substantially over the past two weeks,” stated lead Epidemiologist Martha Montaño. “Just like Arizona, Cochise County has not experienced such high cases numbers at any other time of the pandemic.”

COVID-19 case data as of January 21, 2022:

  • 24,507 confirmed cases, including 4,108 new cases since January 7.
  • 1,212 hospitalizations, including 59 new hospitalizations since January 7.
  • 491 confirmed deaths, including 15 new deaths confirmed since January 7.
  • 552 school-related cases since the start of the Spring semester (Jan. 3, 2022), including an increase of 537 new cases since January 7.
  • 23 of 65 schools meet the “outbreak” definition since the start of the semester, including an increase of 20 schools since January 7.

Hospitals Surge and Testing

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), hospitals report that people with no symptoms or mild symptoms are seeking COVID-19 tests at emergency rooms instead of designated testing sites. This is making it more difficult to care for people facing medical emergencies. 

Aligned with the state data, Cochise County hospitals continue to see an increased number of patients arriving at emergency rooms seeking medical care. Some hospitals are reporting COVID-19 test positivity rates of 50 percent and higher, meaning that 50 percent of the patients seeking medical care are testing positive for COVID-19. 

Contributing to the ongoing challenges, Cochise County hospitals continue to report critical staffing shortages as many caregivers are out sick with COVID-19. CHSS continues to advise the public to seek alternatives to the ER, including contacting your Primary Care Provider (PCP) or local urgent care to determine appropriate care. Residents are advised to find available testing locations or use at-home testing kits to test for COVID-19. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency, seek immediate help by visiting your nearest ER.  

Data: Fully Vaccinated and Unvaccinated 

According to a recent report by ADHS, during November 2021, unvaccinated individuals were:

  • 4.9 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals.
  • 17.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals.
  • 31.1 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals.

Additionally, CHSS’s contract Epidemiologist compared data among breakthrough cases (those who are fully vaccinated) and non-breakthrough cases (those who are not vaccinated). 

  • Among fully vaccinated adults, there’s been a total of 2,529 breakthrough cases, 65 hospitalizations, and 20 deaths, as of January 16, 2022. 
  • In comparison, among non-vaccinated adults, there’s been a total of 16,347 cases, 1,198 hospitalizations, and 470 deaths, as of January 16, 2022.
  • Among fully vaccinated children ages 0-19, there’s been a total of 243 breakthrough cases, zero hospitalizations, and zero deaths, as of January 16, 2022. 
  • In comparison, among non-vaccinated children, there’s been a total of 4,813 cases, 12 hospitalizations, and zero deaths, as of January 16, 2022.

New Federal Recommendations and Guidance

  • CDC Recommends Moderna Booster at 5 Months. People who initially received an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine series can now receive the Moderna booster shot 5 months after completing the initial series.
  • CDC Updates Mask Guidance. To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can, that fits well, and that you will wear consistently.

Cochise Health and Social Services reiterates any mask is better than no mask, especially in confined spaces with high numbers of people. CHSS staff recommend citizens search online or visit their nearest hardware store to find the best fitting mask possible, such as KN95 and N95 masks which offer better protection from airborne virus particles.

To view the COVID-19 work session meeting presentation and video recording, visit the Agendas & Minutes site.

For assistance regarding COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and safety recommendations, contact Cochise Health and Social Services via email at Vaccine@cochise.az.gov and Publichealth@cochise.az.gov or by calling 520-432-9400, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For additional information about COVID-19 including upcoming vaccine events in Cochise County, please visit www.cochise.az.gov/826/COVID-19-Information. To stay updated on Cochise Health and Social Services news, follow www.facebook.com/CochisePublicHealth.

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