TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona is following in the footsteps of several other states who reopened in May.
Those states, which includes Texas and Florida, are seeing a spike in cases among younger people, ages 20 to 44.
This was an age group which initially thought they’d have a dry cough and a little fever but not much more.
“We’re seeing an increase in hospitalizations consistent with the frequency of the disease,” said Dr Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Health Director. “There are people in the ICU in their 20′s, 30′s and 40′s.”
And equally worrisome, is the group has little compliance with the rules to prevent transmission like wearing a mask and social distancing.
“Of course, young people want to get together,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “There’s gatherings, graduation events and social events.”
This week, the Governor said he will make “some announcements” about the spread among younger people and adults.
But it won’t be an easy task.
“This is a real education and communication challenge,” he said.
Dr. Cullen says it will be a real challenge to change people’s habits, especially younger people who don’t feel as threatened.
“We know we have to change behavior,” she said. “The virus isn’t changing.”
Even though some cities and counties have passed mandatory mask orders, she believes it will be some time before the results kick in.
“In Arizona, I think we’re in for a rough two weeks,” she said.
It takes about two weeks before a patient begins to show symptoms and oftentimes another week before they get sick enough to enter the hospital.
That coincides generally with the state re-opening.
“So we want people to know that even though you’re 28, If you get this disease you may still end up in ICU, intubated for 30 days,” she said. “So people need to understand that.”
But getting them to understand it, is a challenge moving forward.