Navajo, Apache Counties Well Above State National COVID Average | Latest news

This stuff becomes real.

And the cavalry – in the form of a vaccine – won’t come here until the end of December – even for the populations at greatest risk. Apache County stays in the COVID hot zone, Navajo County not far behind.

Both counties are facing a growing number of cases and no longer meet all government counseling standards for in-person classes in school.

Apache County had 93 cases per 100,000 as a moving average for the past week, based on the numbers released Monday – one of the highest numbers in the state and almost twice the national average. That’s well above the state and national averages, but far better than the current national hotspots in Montana (189), Wyoming (119), or North or South Dakota (112).

The national average was 54 per 100,000, according to the seven-day rolling averages posted on the website on Monday.

Over the past two weeks, Arizona cases have increased 62%, deaths have increased 24%, and hospital admissions have increased 64%. Nationwide, cases have increased by 8%, deaths by 26% and hospital admissions by 36%.

The Navajo reservation is also dealing with a new spate of cases. Tribal leaders imposed a new three-week lockdown beginning November 16. The Navajo Nation reported 16,223 cases and 648 confirmed deaths on Saturday, again calling the spread of the virus “uncontrolled”. Nationwide figures show that when infected, Indians die from the virus twice as often as the general population.

Neither Apache nor Navajo do very well in the school benchmarks. Infection rates are inconsistent with some national databases as the numbers are based on all cases and tests reported for the week of November 8, rather than a daily moving average.

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Navajo County moved into the “red zone” on November 8th to “significantly” spread the virus in two of three measures. The county had 299 cases per 100,000 – three times the “moderate” prevalence benchmark. The county had 13% positive tests, compared to a “moderate” spread threshold of 10%. The district met the criteria for “moderate” hospitalization – 7.1% in an area with three districts.

Apache County had bigger problems. The county had an infection rate of 550 per 100,000 per week and 13.8% positive tests – both in the red zone where face-to-face classes are not recommended. The percentage of hospital visits in the temperate zone was 7.1%.

Originally, the state’s guidelines provided that schools should only give regular one-to-one classes if all three benchmarks stayed in the green zone, which indicates minimal variation. The state has since changed its guidelines, which are still purely advisory, to the effect that all three benchmarks would have to go to the yellow zone for “hybrid” in-person and online classes and the red zone to suspend in-person classes altogether. Through this measure, the Recommendation suggests a “hybrid” schedule to minimize the number of students who converse during the school day.

Nonetheless, many districts in the two counties continue to offer face-to-face courses without a significant online component to reduce class size and student mix. This also corresponds to the state guidelines, which make the benchmarks purely advisory and leave the decision to the school authorities.

In both Navajo and Apache counties, only the relatively low hospitalization rate of COVID patients qualifies schools for “hybrid” online and in-person classes – although this hospitalization figure reflects the rate in a “central” three-county area.

However, when it comes to the hospital, we have both good and bad news.

The good news – the COVID-19 death rate has dropped significantly since last spring. At this point in time, the death rate was 6.7% of those who tested positive. According to national figures it is now 1.9%. This partly reflects the widespread use of tests since the beginning of the pandemic. But it also likely reflects the treatment breakthroughs that have improved hospital survival rates. Doctors have learned how to deal with the strange side effects of COVID like pneumonia, blood clots, and other problems. They learned to avoid ventilators in favor of less invasive responses to breathing difficulties like steroids, turning people on their sides and stomachs, and other innovations.

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other issues for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach out to him at [email protected]

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