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Holiday crowds raise concern over spread of COVID-19

While a packed bar or beach used to be a normal thing, it’s now raising concerns as COVID-19 continues to spread in Arizona.

PHOENIX — This holiday weekend many people took advantage of places that were open to finally get out and about. Leaving places like Old Town Scottsdale and many lakes packed full of people.

While a packed bar or beach used to be a normal thing, it’s now raising concerns as COVID-19 continues to spread in Arizona.

“It’s disturbing quite honestly to see people ignoring the recommendations after everything that’s been sacrificed,” said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. “We’re going to see an uptick in cases.”

Humble says beyond a vaccine and people being responsible, contact tracing plays a role in helping to slow the spread of the virus.

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“It’s close to like what’s the next most important thing,” Humble said.

Contact tracing is a basic tool public health uses to help identify the spread of a virus like COVID-19. It’s taking a person who has tested positive, asking them to isolate and finding their close contacts to monitor for symptoms.

But with the thousands of cases we have in Arizona, Humble said it makes the job harder.

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“We have so many cases relative to the people who do contact tracing,” Humble said. “There’s no substitute for really just doing triage.”

Humble believes scenes like the ones seen in Old Town Scottsdale over the weekend will lead to more transmission and expects tracers will only be able to focus on close contacts like family and coworkers.

“What are you gonna do? The contact tracer has to throw up their hands and say, ‘I’m going to work the A-list and I can’t follow up on those people at the bar. I don’t have enough time.’”

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