TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Its been a long year. There have been 110,072 known cases but likely many more. There have been 2,247 deaths from the virus.
“A lot of people have died, there’s been a lot of suffering,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Medical Director. “It’s a really difficult year.”
As the county begins its second year battling the coronavirus, there seems to be a glimmer of hope for the future but the damage left behind has been extensive.
“There’s been a long of disruption to businesses, to schools, to families, people haven’t been there to comfort their loved ones,” she said. “I can’t mitigate the pain in the community.”
But looking forward there are signs things are improving. 17.7% of the people in the county have been vaccinated and a full 10% have had their second dose.
The county set a goal of 300,000 vaccinations by the end of March but have already reached that goal a month early.
The sooner the county vaccinates a vast majority of the residents the sooner herd immunity arrives and tamps down the possibility of the virus mutating into a dangerous variant.
The number of cases in the county is near moderate now. It has fallen to 109 per 100,000 residents, down from 863/100K in January.
Percent positivity has fallen to 7.5% which is in the moderate range.
The number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 has fallen below 5%.
With the numbers falling, the county is talking about what mitigation strategies might be eased so we can slip back into a more normal life.
“We are having a very serious discussion and we would hope to make some recommendations that will hopefully loosen up some of the restrictions as the numbers continue to trend downward,” Dr. Cullen said.
What those loosened restrictions are has not been released yet but may be next week.
That’s all good news but the pandemic is still with us and will be for a while longer.
“I just want people to know the three W’s are not going away any time soon,” she said. “Washing your hands, wearing a mask and staying six feel apart.”