County news on coronavirus is mixed

Case flat, vaccine still lagging

State vs. County, vaccine distribution

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The coronavirus case rate in Arizona and Pima County is among the worst in the country, if not the worst.

So every bit of positive news, according to health officials, is reason for optimism.

For the past week, the seven-day rolling average shows that the number of cases and percent-positivity have stabilized, but it’s still premature to call it a plateau.

“At 700 cases per 100,000 is not a plateau,” said Pima County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen. “We are at the top of the mountain.”

It’s likely we may be at a flat period and the numbers could go either way in the days and weeks to come.

But at least the numbers are not spiking as they have in the past two months.

Still, one of the best ways to bring down the numbers is through vaccinations; and that’s where Pima County is lagging, but through no fault of its own.

The county has put together the infrastructure to give 1,000,000 doses by the end of June. Because everyone needs two doses to be effective, that would be a half a million people immunized.

Not enough for herd immunity, but well on the way.

The county has set up several distribution sites where people can get shots, which costs $10,000 to $15,000 per site per day.

But there’s an obstacle.

“We have the infrastructure to be able to deliver that number of vaccines,” Dr Cullen said. “If we don’t get the vaccines, we won’t deliver it.”

Pima County health officials have already suggested the doses are not being equitably distributed throughout the state.

The Phoenix area is not seeing the same level of frustration other counties are seeing because of a vaccine shortage.

“I know it’s really, really difficult for many people right now, to wait,” she said. “Because people are scared and they want access to the vaccine.”

Pima County has enough vaccines to last for another 11 to 12 days, if it doesn’t get any more.

The county says it’s not sure how many it will get in the next week or weeks, because the state hands out the vaccines based on a formula.

The county says the state won’t tell how many vaccine doses it gets, so there’s no way to know if it’s being shortchanged or not.

“I don’t want to worry people,” Dr Cullen said. “We will get more vaccine.”

Just how much is the real question.

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