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Thu, July 09

Mohave County health director says ‘community spread’ responsible for virus surge

Denise Burley, Mohave County’s public health director, speaks to the board of supervisors on May 26 about the coronavirus outbreak. There has been a surge in cases in the county in the past three weeks that Burley attributes to the general spread of the virus throughout the community. (Miner file photo)

Denise Burley, Mohave County’s public health director, speaks to the board of supervisors on May 26 about the coronavirus outbreak. There has been a surge in cases in the county in the past three weeks that Burley attributes to the general spread of the virus throughout the community. (Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – Mohave County has hit a grim new milestone of over 500 coronavirus cases, Denise Burley, the Mohave County public health director, told the county board of supervisors on Monday, June 9.

She said despite the surge in cases and a growing number of deaths, she thinks the county can still reopen safely if precautions are taken and recommendations are followed.

“For the last three weeks, we’ve seen a pretty steady increase – 30%, 12% and 19% increase in cases from previous weeks,” Burley said.

“We want to be mindful that in the last two weeks, the majority of the cases have not come from long-term care facilities, which was our previous experience. We are transitioning into more cases being community-acquired,” the health director continued.

Those statistics track the statewide trends in Arizona, where daily increases set four records in the past week, according to Arizona Department of Health Services data.

The county experienced more than 30 cases over the first weekend of June, Burley said.

That might be the effect of larger gatherings, such as family gatherings, Burley said, and since the circulation of COVID-19 in the community increased, she raised the need to reinforce key messages and share them again with the public.

“Stay home when you are sick,” Burley said. This rule applies not only for those who work, she added, but also to retirees and volunteers.

“They also have to adhere to those standards,” Burley said.

Burley pleaded with people who work with older populations to take extra precautions, and said it is possible to have the community “open” if people practice social distancing and wear masks.

Supervisor Buster Johnson of District 3 brought up the idea of making information of local testing resources available to the public, to include independent test providers.

Burley agreed and said she believes the AZDHS webpage already provides such information by zip code.

On a positive note, Burley told the supervisors that as many as 185 of the county’s COVID-19 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

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