What You Need to Know-Week of December 13th

The most important weekly updates for you to keep your community healthy




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics

2. Quick Question: Will COVID-19 become endemic?

3. Information You Need: The COVID Watch Arizona App




1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics


Updated as of: 12-13-2021

Important note on hospitalizations: As of 12/13, there are less than 75 (4%) ICU beds available in hospitals across the state. Similarly, only 514 (6%) of inpatient beds are now available across the state. This leaves an incredibly small amount of hospital beds available for incoming admissions (e.g., for heart attacks, injuries, etc.).

Weekly case, death, and hospitalization counts:

In the past week, there has been an average of:
Cases per day3,448
Deaths per day64
Compared to two weeks ago:
Cases per dayIncreased by 5% ↗
Deaths per dayIncreased by 56% ↗
Hospitalizations per dayIncreased by 8% ↗
For regularly updated case counts and additional COVID-19 information by county, visit the Arizona Department of Health’s data dashboard summary page.

Vaccine Information

Number of ArizonansPercentage in ArizonaPercentage in U.S.
Individuals who are fully vaccinated (all ages)3,911,12856%61%
Individuals who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (all ages)4,576,87265%72%

9,375,175 total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Arizona

For a breakdown of vaccination by Arizona counties, visit the CDC’s website.

For updated vaccine information and data in Arizona, visit this link and click on the “Vaccine Administration” icon.



2. Quick Question: Will COVID-19 become endemic?


The short answer to this question is that it is likely that COVID-19 will become endemic, defined as continually being present in a geographic location. However, what exactly this will look like is still unclear. Keep reading for more information:

A question scientists are now facing is whether COVID-19 will transition from a pandemic to becoming endemic worldwide or within certain regions of the world. To better understand this question, we need to know what these terms mean:

OutbreakSudden increases in cases in a defined population or geographic areaCOVID-19 outbreaks have occured within many long-term care facilities (e.g. nursing homes) since the pandemic began
EpidemicThere was an abnormal, increased occurrence of disease in a particular area at one timeCOVID-19 began as an epidemic, when it was more localized to Wuhan, China.
PandemicWidespread transmission of an infectious disease that crosses regional borders. After COVID-19 crossed regional borders and spread to other parts of the world, it quickly developed into a pandemic. This typically means the disease is being locally transmitted on more than one continent. 
EndemicA specific disease is constantly present within an area, however; its presence is usually at predictable levelsFor example, the seasonal flu is endemic to the United States, though occasionally influenza can cause outbreaks (think University of Michigan 2021), an epidemic (more than what is usually expected during influenza season in a specific geographic region, and even pandemics such as the most recent H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009. 

More research and time is needed to determine the answer to whether COVID-19 will become endemic, but many scientists believe that this is likely to be the case. When exactly this transition will take place is unknown at this time, but experts believe that it will probably occur gradually over time. And as seen with influenza, it is quite possible that there will be cycles of endemic (having the level of COVID-19 that is “expected” and periods where there will be outbreaks and even pandemics if new variants arise. Many factors will be key in determining the outcome of COVID-19, including vaccination rates, population immunity levels, adherence to safety measures, the emergence of new variants and their ability to escape prior immunity and/ or transmit, etc. This is yet another reason why receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and continuing to wear masks when in public is incredibly imperative!  

What does all of this mean for you?

COVID-19 may be here to stay, but it will not always affect us in the same way. In other words, the disease might not disappear, but it will be much easier to manage outbreaks because:

  • We continue to have advances in treatments. This is particularly important to reducing the burden on our healthcare system. Keeping people from hospitalization will allow the capacity to treat people for other illnesses and injuries.
  • Systems can be developed to rapidly modify vaccines to detect and address new variants. 
  • We will become better at prediction and projecting the levelof disease in a specific area. 
    • Predictable disease levels can be advantageous in that adequate resources and healthcare personnel can be allocated to mitigation efforts. This is in contrast to the less predictable COVID-19 case increases and decreases that we have seen so far in this pandemic. 


3. Information You Need: The COVID Watch Arizona App


The COVID Watch Arizona Exposure Notification app is a great resource that anonymously alerts you, via your smartphone, if you have been exposed to COVID-19. Unlike other apps, COVID Watch Arizona does not store your personal information or track your location. Instead, the app uses secure bluetooth technology. When your phone is around other phones they exchange anonymous information. If someone you have been in contact with anonymously reports testing positive to the app, you will be notified and can then take the proper next steps to avoid potential community transmission. This is particularly important for exposures that may occur between people that do not know each other, such as individuals on a bus, plane, or even in the same restaurant. The app is free and usable throughout Arizona and it works with apps in other states if you travel. 

Please visit this website for more information or if you would like to download the app!

The more people that download the app, the better it works. You must have the app on your phone prior to reporting an infection for the app to notify your contacts. 




If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to COVID-19 in Arizona, please complete next week’s AZCOVIDTXT survey that you will receive via text in about a week.

View Updates from Past Weeks:
Update from week of December 6th (English | Spanish)
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