WICKENBURG (June 26, 2020) – Wickenburg Community Hospital and Clinics (WCH) urge community members to adhere to Maricopa County Department of Public Health’s (MCDPH) strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19. According to Karen Smith, infection prevention manager for WCH, “Out of the 244 patients we have tested for COVID-19, fifteen have tested positive and one resulting in hospitalization”.
“An uptick in positive local COVID-19 cases is consistent with what is being reported nationally”, said Brenda Crissman, public information officer for WCH. “The public is encouraged to follow Maricopa County Department of Public Health recommendations to help slow the spread of the disease”.
MCDPH reported current data for Maricopa County cases show a different picture of disease spread than was seen earlier in the pandemic. As of this week, Maricopa County is now averaging just over 1,800 new COVID-19 cases reported each day, a six-fold increase over the number of cases being reported six weeks ago. Additionally, more than half of all reported cases are in people age 20-44, up from one-third previously. This is likely the result of increased exposure for that age group when at work or in public places reported MCDPH.
“I want everyone in Maricopa County to understand that every adult has an equal chance of getting infected if exposed to COVID-19, and we can all spread it to people who are at higher risk of severe illness and send them to the hospital even if we just have mild illness,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at MCDPH. With COVID-19 spreading rapidly through the community, MCDPH is focusing efforts on three public health tactics that are critical to controlling disease spread: case investigation and contact tracing, social distancing, and mask wearing.
“All positive COVID-19 cases are investigated and contact tracing is performed by the health department. As infection prevention manager, I investigate and perform contact tracing for hospital and clinic employees”, said Smith. “Maricopa County data is showing approximately 40% of all COVID-19 cases do not show symptoms so the benefit of social distancing is that people are not exposed unknowingly by being around people who appear healthy but are infectious. Mask wearing is important when people cannot practice social distancing”.
COVID-19 is spread when people spend more than 10 minutes within six feet of a person who is infected. By practicing social distancing – that is minimizing close contact with people outside of their household, individuals can reduce their exposures and slow the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Maricopa County.