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Arizona's COVID-19 transmission rate is nearly three times the national average

“Arizona does appear right now to be in a bit of a surge. We have the highest transmission rate in the country right now,” said Dr. Joshua LeBaer.

PHOENIX — Data suggests that Arizona is heading in the wrong direction as new COVID-19 cases rise weeks away from the holiday season. 

“Arizona does appear right now to be in a bit of a surge. We have the highest transmission rate in the country right now,” said Dr. Joshua LeBaer, executive director for the ASU Biodesign Institute. 

LeBaer points to a recent increase in hospitalizations. 

"The virus is out there and it's still transmitting to people," LeBaer explained during a briefing on Wednesday. "We have not seen an appreciable drop in weeks."  

The recent seven-day average percent positivity in the U.S. was 5.3% as of Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, Arizona is experiencing a significantly higher range of between 10% to 14.9%. 

COVID-19 on the frontlines

“I know the tremendous cost of life and health with COVID-19,” said Lacey Khor, a nurse at the Phoenix Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Unit. All of Khor's patients are immunocompromised. 

Khor is eager to get her children vaccinated. 

“I have a son Calvin who is six and a daughter Lucey who is two. I want to vaccinate my son because I believe in the scientific method," Khor said. "I want him to have the protection for him but also for the community at large. For the people that we are around and for the patients that I come to serve at this hospital every day.”    

Nearly 645,000 kids between the ages of five and 11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

“In every big decision for our babies, we want them to be safe and well," Khor said. "Talk to a pediatrician; I know it can get tricky with the amount of information we have as modern parents. So, when we say experts meaning people who work in medicine; work in immunology and with vaccines. The perfect place to start is with your pediatrician.” 

Be cautious around large groups in Arizona  

LaBaer says Arizonans should avoid large groups of people when indoors.

"This is not a good time to be in crowds in Arizona. We're leading the country right now in transmission, so going out to crowded, indoor events without masks on would not be a good plan," LeBaer said. "If you are around people who aren't in your immediate circle, I'd be wearing a mask."

According to the CDC, Arizona is one of 41 states with a "high" transmission rate. 

Resources to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

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