PHOENIX — Nearly every county in Arizona has "high" community levels of the coronavirus, meaning residents in these areas are encouraged to wear a mask inside public places.
Mohave County is now the only area in Arizona to remain in the "medium" range of COVID-19 community levels.
Two weeks ago, Maricopa County had been in the "medium" range for COVID-19 transmissions. But the latest analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed Arizona's largest county up into the "high" category.
This means Valley residents are encouraged to consider masking up inside public areas and on public transit, according to the CDC.
Arizona reported more than 14,800 cases of COVID-19 during the week of Nov. 27, which is a significant increase from the 4,007 cases reported during the week of Sept. 25.
"COVID-19 deaths remain well below what Arizona has seen during major surges, but the 71 deaths added in today’s weekly dashboard update are a grim reminder that COVID-19 is still present and taking lives," the Arizona Department of Health Services wrote in a statement on Dec. 8.
The Maricopa County Public Health Department also warns residents of the region's "widespread" amount of influenza cases.
The county reported over 2,800 flu cases between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, which is far above the amount typically reported this time of year. The flu season's peak normally occurs in early January.
“It is concerning to see so many cases before many holiday gatherings and travel have even happened. We are already seeing a strain on our healthcare systems,” said Nick Staab, a medical epidemiologist at MCDPH.
The county encourages residents to get vaccinated and recognize the signs of respiratory illnesses, which may include the following:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat