Pima County health department hoping residents stay safe while celebrating

Pima County health department hoping residents stay safe while celebrating this weekend

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Another holiday during COVID-19, and this one might be different for many.

As closures continue and cases are on the rise, the Pima County Health Department hopes people will celebrate safely.

The day before the Fourth of July, many people sitting under trees and walking around the lake at Reid Park. Some had masks, but many did not.

A nearby fireworks stand saw more customers than usual.

“We’ve seen an uptick the last week,” said Dennis Zekus, who was selling fireworks.

He said his shop has likely done double the amount of sales they normally would.

“People are kind of staying at home and cooking a barbecue and having their own little backyard fireworks display,” he said.

It’s the sure sign of a start of a busy holiday weekend, known for cookouts, fireworks and parties.

Grills at Reid Park looked abandoned, with caution tape around them while ramadas and playgrounds were also closed. The city of Tucson has closed park facilities and splash pads until Aug. 3.

Grocery stores were busy Friday, as they often are before holidays.

The Costco on the northwest side had a full parking lot, and patrons said it was “very busy” inside.

The Sprouts nearby saw long lines inside. One shopper said they waited in line for 20 minutes, but everyone had a mask on.

Health officials are hoping people will be a bit more cautious when celebrating this year.

“The thing we’re worried about is a spike we saw similar to Memorial Day,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Health Director. “If we have another spike in two weeks, we will be in a more accelerated phase in community transition.”

Dr. Cullen said the state and Pima County are in the most accelerated stage of transmission the area has seen today.

The state health department reported more than 4,400 new COVID-19 cases in Arizona Friday.

Case counts are up, as are hospitalizations.

The state said 91 percent of ICU beds in the state are full, nearly 750 of those for COVID-19 patients.

Pima County saw its highest weekly count with around 2,000 new cases.

The PCHD said people should keep practicing social distancing when possible.

Cullen said groups should be kept to under 10, masks should be worn, tables and utensils wiped down and community condiments handled by one person.

“Hopefully, we’ll all embrace what it means to be citizens of the United States and to celebrate the independence on July Fourth, and that we all work together to ensure that we can make our neighbors and our families independent,” Cullen said.

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