Maricopa County data shows continued flattening of hospitalizations
Community is encouraged to keep doing what we’re doing
PHOENIX (April 15, 2020)—Maricopa County Department of Public Health data is clearly showing that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is flattening. This is likely attributed to the protective measures individuals and the community are taking to slow the spread of diseaseand is a signal to the community to keep doing what we are doing.
“This is exactly why the Governor put protective measures Maricopa County data shows continued flattening of hospitalizations in place,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “Flattening the curve allows hospitals to have the resources to care for everyone who becomes sick. The challenge is that for the curve to remain flat and eventually slope down, we cannot relax our social distancing measures yet.”
Sunenshine reminded that this hospitalization epi curve shows the most accurate trends of disease in the county because people who are hospitalized have had access to testing from the beginning. Unlike the epi curve for cases, these trends are not affected by the availability of testing in the community.
As a reminder, an epi curve is a public health tool used frequently in outbreaks that visualizes how many cases occur over time. It is not a model for predicting future cases or hospitalizations.
A hospitalization epi curve looks specifically at those who are hospitalized, showing the trends of the most severe cases and allowing epidemiologists—public health experts who assess health data at the community level—to estimate the number of milder cases occurring when there is not enough testing available.
In addition to the hospitalization epi curve, we have also looked closely at the specific chronic health conditions in people with severe disease from COVID-19. Data from hospitalized patients in Maricopa County shows hypertension or high blood pressure is by far the most common chronic medical condition for both people who have tested positive and for those who are hospitalized. This is followed by diabetes and heart disease. Maricopa County data is consistent with the data reported from China and other countries about which conditions are found in people with COVID-19 who suffer more severe disease.
Sunenshine also commented on recent zip code data released by the Arizona Department of Health Services and how it could be interpreted for Maricopa County.
“The one thing I want our residents to take away from this zip code map is whether you see 5 cases or 50 cases in your zip code, we can assure you that COVID-19 is circulating throughout the county, and you need to take the same precautions to prevent illness. This means staying home as much as you can, staying 6 feet away from others outside your home and washing your hands routinely. And check in on seniors and those with chronic medical conditions to see if they need support,” said Sunenshine.
Social distancing is avoiding those outside of your household as much as possible and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between others when you are out in public. A few examples of acceptable activities while practicing social distancing include:
Phone calls and video chats
Walks around your neighborhood while keeping 6 feet between you and others
Virtual book clubs
Video chats over coffee or meals to replace having coffee or meals together in-person
If you think you might be sick with COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19, please immediately isolate yourself from others in your household. Symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Hospitalization Epi Curve
Zip Code Data
Cases/Hospitalization by Chronic Disease
If you are sick, have been around someone who is sick, or are caring for someone who is sick, please see https://www.maricopa.gov/5512/Sick-or-Exposed-to-COVID-19 for details on what you can do to protect yourself and those around you.
For more information on COVID-19 and what you can do to stop the spread, please visit www.Maricopa.gov/COVID19 for English or www.Maricopa.gov/COVID19es for Spanish.