Fact Finders: Tracking recovered COVID-19 cases in Pima County

Fact Finders: Tracking recovered COVID-19 cases in Pima County
KOLD Fact Finders (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Department of Health Services continues to share new data everyday on the COVID-19 spread across the state.

The data includes county-by-county COVID-19 cases, hospital usage and a zipcode map to track the number of cases. After Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order for the department to release more information, we could not find the number of recovered cases available online. However, since the number of confirmed cases is a running total, it is assumed some of the cases have recovered since reporting.

Last month, Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Bob England said data on recovered cases was not available because there weren’t any cases, at the time, to track and resources were being used where they needed to be.

This week, Dr. England said he hopes to start getting a better idea soon of recovered cases in the community with more antibody testing made available and contact tracing.

“If we can get down the other side of the curve and get the numbers pretty far down, then we can do more aggressive contact tracing," said Dr. England.

To address a critical lack of local data, a team of researchers from University of Arizona Health Sciences and the university’s Data Science Institute is launching a two-way texting system to gather information on COVID-19 in the community.

AZCOVIDTXT will let you report the health and wellness in your household on a weekly basis, all right through your cell phone or mobile device. To take part, text JOIN to 1-833-410-0546.

According to a news release, researchers hope to enroll up to 100,000 Pima County households in the first phase of the project. The university reports government agency leaders on the state and local levels have expressed their support for the project.

Dr. England said an aggressive investigation will help the department better detect any new outbreaks. He said it is “a ways down the road,” however the tracking will be a way to better manage the virus if and when public places start to reopen.

The AZDHS does report the number of positive or suspected COVID-19 patients who have been discharged from the hospital. As of April 21, that number was 1,265.

According to the Johns Hopkins COVID-10 Dashboard, more than 78,000 cases are now recovered in the United States, however there doesn’t appear to be any data specific to Arizona.

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