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Arizona still in COVID-19 'red zone' in White House report

Federal task force recommends small, household-only holiday celebrations

All but three states are now in the red zone for new coronavirus cases, according to new White House coronavirus task force reports.

“There is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration,” the task force told governors in its Nov. 15 reports. “Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies.”

Arizona remains in the "red zone" for the second straight week, as coronavirus infections skyrocket.

Arizona has had 17,900 new reported infections in the past seven days, with Pima County setting absolute high records for new cases contracted within the past week twice in just the last three days. More than 2,600 new confirmed cases have been reported here in the past seven days, with the rate of positive tests increasing along with the numbers of infected people.

County officials said last week that the "alarming rate" of new coronavirus cases here looks "like the beginning of the huge spike that we saw over the summer," and local officials are cautioning people to be safer as the holidays approach.

Arizona's Gov. Doug Ducey had previously signaled he would not impose any new restrictions in a state that saw more than 3,200 new infections and 53 additional deaths reported Wednesday morning. The Republican governor has his first live COVID-19 briefing in weeks scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The federal task force continued its push for more antigen testing and also urged states to beef up their warnings to the public prior to Thanksgiving.

“The upcoming holidays can amplify transmission considerably,” the task force told Washington state. “Washington should continue to expand public health messaging across all media platforms, including SMS auto-texting, to warn citizens about the risks of social gatherings.”

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The task force told multiple states they should urge people to celebrate holidays only with members of their own household.

Over the past weeks, cases have been on the rise with just more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases reported from the first week of November in Pima County. Hospital admissions for COVID-19 have also "spiked," officials said.

"This is the highest one week total since the large spike in cases over the summer," Pima County health authorities said. "The first week of November saw the same level of cases during the beginning weeks of June 2020."

Gov. Ducey has indicated for weeks that he has no plans to impose additional restrictions as Arizona's tally of COVID-19 infections began to climb again. With more than 283,000 reported infections in the state since the beginning of the pandemic, 6,365 Arizonans have died from the disease.

Hawaii, Maine and Vermont are the only states not in the red zone for cases, meaning they had fewer than 101 new cases last week per 100,000 residents. More than half of states are also now in the White House’s red zones for test positivity and deaths.

The reports to governors and senior state health officials are not made public. The Center for Public Integrity is collecting and publishing them.

The states in the red zone for cases in this week’s report (meaning they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in the week prior):

  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Iowa
  4. Wyoming
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Nebraska
  7. Illinois
  8. Minnesota
  9. Kansas
  10. Montana
  11. Utah
  12. Indiana
  13. Colorado
  14. Alaska
  15. Idaho
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Missouri
  18. Michigan
  19. New Mexico
  20. Tennessee
  21. Oklahoma
  22. Arkansas
  23. Ohio
  24. Kentucky
  25. Nevada
  26. Connecticut
  27. West Virginia
  28. Mississippi
  29. Pennsylvania
  30. New Jersey
  31. Massachusetts
  32. Alabama
  33. Texas
  34. Arizona
  35. Delaware
  36. South Carolina
  37. Florida
  38. Louisiana
  39. Maryland
  40. North Carolina
  41. Washington
  42. Oregon
  43. New York
  44. New Hampshire
  45. California
  46. District of Columbia
  47. Virginia
  48. Georgia

The states in the red zone for test positivity in this week’s report (meaning more than 10 percent of tests in the state were positive in the week prior):

  1. Montana
  2. Idaho
  3. Iowa
  4. Nebraska
  5. Kansas
  6. South Dakota
  7. Missouri
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Utah
  11. North Dakota
  12. Minnesota
  13. Nevada
  14. Illinois
  15. New Mexico
  16. Indiana
  17. Tennessee
  18. Michigan
  19. Mississippi
  20. Kentucky
  21. Colorado
  22. Texas
  23. Wyoming
  24. Alabama
  25. Alaska
  26. South Carolina
  27. Arkansas
  28. Ohio

The states in the red zone for deaths (meaning they had more than more than two new deaths per 100,000 residents in the week prior): 

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  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Montana
  4. Wisconsin
  5. New Mexico
  6. Indiana
  7. Tennessee
  8. West Virginia
  9. Michigan
  10. Iowa
  11. Idaho
  12. Wyoming
  13. Nebraska
  14. Missouri
  15. Alabama
  16. Minnesota
  17. Illinois
  18. Mississippi
  19. Kansas
  20. Arkansas
  21. Rhode Island
  22. Texas
  23. Georgia
  24. Pennsylvania
  25. Kentucky
  26. Massachusetts
  27. Colorado
  28. Louisiana

TucsonSentinel.com’s Dylan Smith contributed Arizona reporting to this story.


Reprinted by permission of The Center for Public Integrity.

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