Amid a spike in cases of coronavirus, bars are being ordered to close again by state order. A look at the data for La Paz County tells a sobering story: cases quadrupled in the County during the month of June.
Total cases of coronavirus in La Paz County over time
At first, La Paz County got off relatively lightly. For 6 weeks after the Board of Supervisors first declared an emergency on March 19th, just 2 cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed in the Parker area. And for another 3 weeks after that, Parker area cases were confined to the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation. At the end of May, the coronavirus had topped out at just 69 confirmed cases countywide, many of them connected to a single rural workplace near the town of Vicksburg.
But just 4 weeks later, the count is at 330. 229 cases are on the CRIT reservation. Five individuals in the County have died from complications of the virus. The latest person who died was over the age of 65 with no known underlying medical conditions, according to the La Paz County Health Department.
The spike is part of a region-wide surge across California and Arizona, a ‘gasoline on the fire’ effect that seems linked to the states’ reopening of businesses, restaurants and bars. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey lifted his stay-at-home order on May 18th. But now, on Monday, June 29th, he has issued a new order shutting down bars again for a month, except for pick up, delivery and drive-thru operations.
Ducey is advising Arizonans to wear masks in public places. Evidence suggests that masks slow the spread of the virus significantly. The big resolution to the virus – vaccination – is still several months away at best, so masks may be one of the few levers left for authorities to pull, short of shutting down all but essential businesses as it did earlier in the spring.
“As a state, we can’t be under the illusion that this virus is going to go away on its own,” said Ducey in a press briefing Monday. “Our expectation is that next week our numbers will be worse.”
In addition to bars being ordered to close again, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing operators are being ordered to close again too, with a targeted reopening date of July 29th. The Parker Tube Float has been cancelled.
Arizona schools will also be delayed in reopening, with a new target date of August 17th as the first day of school for the 2020 school year.
Some good news: Although confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, the rate of new hospitalizations and the rate of COVID-19 deaths has tapered down from a high in mid-June. The data shows that older people, who are the most vulnerable, are not getting it as much, and younger people are a majority of the new cases.
Parker Live’s timeline of COVID-19 in La Paz County can be found HERE
Read Ducey’s new executive order HERE