Image licensed under Creative Commons.
By Mattysen Short, Correspondent
Editor’s Note: The data cited in this article was current as of March 12th, 2021.
According to the Arizona State Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard, there have been a total 831,832 cases of the coronavirus in the State of Arizona since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those 831,832 COVID-19 cases, 16,519 Arizonians have died from the virus.
The seven-day-average of new coronavirus cases reported each day is 1,284 as of Mar. 12th, 2021. Though this is slightly lower than two weeks prior, the metric does appear to be stalling at just above 1,000 daily cases reported. The holiday spike that Arizona experienced from the beginning of November to mid February looks to have come to an end and daily reported cases are gradually getting closer to what they were early last fall. It is expected that with vaccinations on the rise and continued COVID-19 precautions, these numbers will continue to drop, although the emerging variants continue to represent an unpredictable threat.
As of Mar. 12th, 2021, the total number of people who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is 1,471,365, just about 20.5% of the Arizona population. Of those almost 1.5 million people that have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 861,795 or 12% of the Ariz. population, has been fully vaccinated.
Updated Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines consider someone fully vaccinated 2 weeks after they have received either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. New CDC guidelines also permit less-regulated activities for those fully protected, including pre-COVID-style socializing with other vaccinated people and visiting with one low-risk unvaccinated household.
As of Mar. 12th, 2021, Yavapai County, the home of the Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus, has vaccinated 98% of people in the Phase 1A category which includes healthcare workers, first responders, and long-term care facility staff and residents as well as 50% of those in the Phase 1B category which includes educators.
Though vaccinations are quickly rolling out in Yavapai County, the new two week COVID-19 test positivity rate is now 14.2%, 4.2% higher than two weeks ago, indicating that cases could still tick back up and that the spread may be under-recorded.
In addition, on Mar. 12th, 2021, 244 new COVID-19 cases were reported with 93 of those coming from Prescott and Prescott Valley (70 and 23 cases respectively). Prescott and Prescott Valley, the two main towns of residence for ERAU Prescott staff and students, are contributing significantly more to new cases in Yavapai County than any other towns, most of which have much smaller populations.
Despite that, the Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus is still experiencing low COVID numbers with only two students in active isolation and no new cases identified the week of Mar. 5-12. However, from Mar. 5th, 2021 to Mar. 12, 2021, only 66 students were tested at Embry-Riddle Prescott, less than 3% of the student population. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, positivity rates in the county remain high and testing volume is relatively low within the campus community, so it’s no time to give up COVID precautions.
Eagles! We will not see an end to the pandemic if each and every one of us does not do our part. The Embry-Riddle Campus’ COVID-19 numbers appear to be great but the county and towns we live in continue to experience a devastatingly high volume of new coronavirus cases. Please remember to wear your mask, distance yourselves, and wash your hands. Stay on campus when you can, get vaccinated when it’s available to you, and avoid social gatherings that could contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Each person needs to do their part, and we will continue to make progress if we are vigilant.