PHOENIX — Arizona has passed the 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
"Today is actually a really interesting day because we did hit over 200,000 cases and it’s also the same day that we are able to allow certain businesses, gyms and certain bars and nightclubs to re-open," said Dr. Natasha Bhuyan.
The pandemic officially hit the state in January. Since then the virus has impacted every person and business.
“Very frustrating, very painful,” said Ricardo Aguirre after losing five of his family members to the virus.
Many Arizonans share Aguirre's pain. Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 4,929 deaths related to COVID-19.
Issues seem to show up in everyday life. People trying to access unemployment benefits have seen roadblocks, businesses have fought to reopen and begin making profits again and schools are questioning the safety of allowing kids back in the classroom.
The virus has touched everyone in some way but there is hope as the spread has slowed.
“It was by taking lots of precautions. People were wearing masks and practiced social distancing. They weren’t going out to crowded places,” said Dr. Bhuyan.
Dr. Bhuyan says mitigation efforts so far have worked but as the state starts to reopen she’s urging people to remember the first time the state reopened for business.
“Using caution we were able to slow the spread, which is a positive thing. The biggest thing that I urge people now that we’ve got businesses re-opening once again is to use that same level of caution," she said.
Dr. Bhuyan said people still need to wear masks, social distance and practice proper hand hygiene.
"Arizonans are at a crossroads and they’re gonna have to make some decisions about what they’re going to do these upcoming weeks," she said.
One of Dr. Bhuyan's fears is the state reopening too quickly.
"When we look at these numbers we don’t want to throw caution to the wind. You don’t want people to look at these numbers and celebrate too prematurely because we could end up going the other direction."
The silver lining is that people are taking COVID-19 seriously. But while the coronavirus cases lower, the country is on the heels of flu season.
"The season is right around the corner and we might see an uptick in respiratory cases and now we need to figure out if someone has the flu or common cold," Dr. Bhuyan said.