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KNAU and Arizona News

State health officials urge caution during Thanksgiving holiday as COVID-19 cases rise

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Yesterday State health officials reported over 3,000 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 120 more deaths amid growing concern about the pandemic’s current surge and its impact on the state’s hospital system. Virus-related hospitalizations continue to climb, with more than 2,500 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient rooms as of Monday. That’s about half the number of virus hospitalizations during the peak of last winter’s surge but currently there is little available capacity statewide because many hospitals are also caring for large numbers of non-COVID patients.

Meanwhile, Navajo Nation officials reported 59 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths from the virus as of Tuesday evening. In all, the tribe has seen 39,080 positive cases and 1,527 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. The tribe is urging residents on the vast reservation to limit in-person gatherings to help prevent the spread of the virus as the Thanksgiving holiday nears

Hospital executives and public health authorities across Arizona are pleading for people to get vaccinated and do everything possible to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Hospitals are girding for another surge in cases that threatens once again to overwhelm the state’s health care system. The numbers of coronavirus infections and hospital stays are trending up, as they did this time last year as families gathered for the holidays, culminating in a crushing demand at hospitals. Hospital executives and state health officials held a news conference Tuesday asking people to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings if they feel sick and to wear masks when in crowded areas.