State health officials report drop in COVID-19 case numbers

Arizona saw its highest peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations in mid-January but even though cases are dropping, hospitals remain busy.
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 8:23 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona saw record high COVID-19 cases in January, but now after the holidays and the omicron surge, those metrics appear to be heading in the right direction.

On Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Health Services state reported 2,177 new coronavirus cases. It also says roughly 443 ICU beds were used by COVID patients, which is the lowest since last October.

Dr. Michael White is the chief medical officer for Valleywise Health. “Our highest peak was towards the middle of January,” he said.

While the hospital is blessed to see a decrease in COVID-19 patients, the apparent downturn is happening during what’s typically a busy time for hospitals with an influx of seasonal visitors in our state.

Dr. White anticipates a decline in COVID cases over the next few weeks, but if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is to be prepared for the ever-changing virus and its variants.

The pandemic and its peaks have been incredibly trying and tiring for our healthcare workers. “These people haven’t faltered,” Dr. White said. “They haven’t been able to work from home. They have been coming in every day to make sure that we’re able to care for those that truly need this, have access to do that, start to learn new and better ways to get us through the pandemic.”

While cases are decreasing, Dr. White says coronavirus is still circulating in our community. He urges people to take the precautions we’ve talked about, like getting vaccinated to avoid the hospital.

He says COVID-19 will be in our healthcare systems for a long time. However, they want to avoid big spikes and get to a manageable level so the virus doesn’t overload hospitals.