When can we lighten January peaks, with hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the green zone and percent positivity below 10%?
Questions have begun to arise about when it might be time to ease some of the restrictions and mitigation strategies.
“When can we lighten up and what does it mean to lighten up,” said the Pima County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen. “What are the recommendations that come with that.”
But those questions come with a caveat - “as long as the numbers stay stable”.
It’s generally the same posed by the Arizona State Health Director Dr. Cara Christ.
“We want to wait until all the metrics get down in the yellow zone for two weeks before we would start looking at some of those things,” Dr. Christ said.
Some of those things are potentially easing restrictions on crowds, increasing capacity, opening other industries, easing restrictions on large groups.
While Dr. Christ was not ready to say those would happen today, she admits the conversations have begun.
“It does look like in the next couple of weeks we could, we will, have a couple of counties in the moderate range,” Dr. Christ said. “The whole state is trending in the right direction.”
But that comes with a heavy dose of caution.
“I think we’ll get to that point in the next seven to ten days, assuming that the case levels stay stable,” Dr. Cullen said.
Because there’s a chance a variant of the coronavirus, which may be resistant to the present Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, may appear creating a fourth wave.
Still the county has said on numerous occasions that it remains “cautiously optimistic.”
“I do believe that you will see in the next seven to ten days, as long as the number stay stable. Us, meaning the public health department, will be releasing a new public health advisory that has additional guidance in terms of what is appropriate for now,” Dr. Cullen said.
The state data dashboard shows cases are nearing the yellow zone, the percent positivity is already there and the hospitalizations have fallen into the green zone.
But it will take another week of those numbers for the state and county to start easing up a bit.
And for sports fans, that’s a good thing.
“Will we anticipate loosening up having spectators at external sporting events, which I know is near and deaf to the hearts of many people,” Dr. Cullen asked. “We are starting to talk about that.”