Rising COVID-19 cases may spell trouble for Arizona economy

Even when not closed, bars and restaurants are hurt by would-be customers staying home./Josh Galemore / Arizona Daily Star

By Howard Fischer| Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star 

Arizona added more than 4,100 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, part of a trend that could have a nasty effect on the state’s economic health and unemployment situation.

New figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services show the number of positive tests is the highest for any single day since early July.

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There also were 19 new deaths, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 6,384.

And there were other signs of a deteriorating situation, including 1,796 people in hospitals with the coronavirus, matching rates not seen since August.

For the moment, that is well within the number of overall beds available.

But former state Health Director Will Humble said in a blog post Thursday that, absent major new measures to curtail the virus, he foresees “another hospital capacity crisis in Arizona in December.” And Humble, now executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, said that could force implementation of the state’s Crisis Standards of Care, which create protocols for how hospitals and medical professionals make treatment decisions when the demands for services outstrip the resources.

There was no immediate comment from Arizona Health Chief Dr. Cara Christ.

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