PHOENIX (AP) — The average number of daily coronavirus cases in Arizona has risen over the last two weeks, prompting one public health expert to warn Wednesday that the situation was reminiscent of when cases started to increase exponentially during the summer.
The state’s average number of cases increased from 476 per day on Sept. 29 to 685 on Oct. 13.
Arizona averaged more than 4,000 additional cases per day when it was experiencing its most serious surge of the virus in late June and early July.
In the recent spike, authorities reported 902 additional confirmed cases and five deaths as of Wednesday morning.
Pinal County reported 29 new cases and one death Wednesday. That brings the total number of cases in the county to 11,152 and 213 deaths.
Dr. Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the ASU Biodesign Institute, told reporters that he is worried about the recent rise in cases.
“I’m a little nervous about the state,” LaBaer said. “It looks a lot like it did at the beginning of June.”
Positive cases are rising in Maricopa, Yuma, Navajo, Coconino and Pinal counties. Some of these counties have allowed businesses and schools to open up again.
That raises questions about whether they are doing so too quickly, LaBaer said. COVID-19 hospitalizations and ventilator usage have also increased slightly.
In all, the state has recorded 227,635 confirmed virus cases and 5,772 deaths since the pandemic began.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.