Despite some businesses and individuals realizing the seriousness of the extent of COVID-19 in Arizona's Mohave County, not enough are maintaining vigilance in adhering to guidelines mandated by public health officials.
A recent spike in cases as high as 33 in one day reveals the battle with the disease continues without a true end in sight.
Mohave County Public Health Director Denise Burley firmly believes things are not the usual normal, but instead is a “new” normal with COVID-19 daily reminders. “People need to pay attention. It’s not only old people or occurrences at long term facilities. Positives have been confirmed in our county with little children, teens, and young professionals. This is community spread and it’s ongoing. People need to pay attention.”
The county agrees businesses should be open, but, they must remain compliant with social distancing in place.
County Risk and Emergency Management Director Byron Steward says that the recent case spike is not because of businesses reopening, but that many did so “without following the social distancing and other precautionary measures recommended by the Governor and all public health experts.” Many local businesses and individuals have been very responsible in such important practices as wearing masks in public settings and social distancing, but, Steward adds “others have either intentionally or unintentionally ignored them.”
Burley and Steward both believe many in the general population, especially young and middle-aged people, think that they do not have to practice safety measures because most deaths have been among the elderly. They don't realize that the elderly have to get the virus from someone who is likely and irresponsibly avoiding social distancing, whether it be a family member or a visitor or employee of a long term care center. There have been many positives cases involving children and young adults.
Steward says “Localized outbreaks in the county have been linked to large public events such as graduations or large family gatherings where it is likely that one or two sick individuals spread the virus to dozens of other attendees.”
Burley says “the significant increase in cases in Mohave County over the past three weeks is very alarming.”
She believes it may prove exceedingly difficult to change some minds about the severity of the current situation involving COVID-19. However, the public shouldn’t disregard the most important actions that can impact the course of the virus in the county: Stay at home and away from others if you are sick; practice social distancing; wear a mask when social distancing is not possible; wash your hands thoroughly.
Burley points out, “the case count, the problems of dealing with crowds, and, adhering to the simple basics of known guidelines may be too much for some, but, common sense and a belief in the adage, “we’re all in this together” should strike home with most.” Steward adds “we have to do our best to fight this spike and bring it back to something reasonably acceptable. We’re in this for the foreseeable future.”