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Arizona university urging 3-week shutdown, statewide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases are on the rise

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Many states are beefing up coronavirus mitigation including new stay-at-home orders and mask mandates, as cases continue to spike.

As the holiday season rolls around, a new recommendation from researchers at the University of Arizona (UA) wants government officials in Arizona to do more.

Members of the covid modeling team at the University of Arizona sent a letter to the state department of health services on Friday, as the team has tracked the outbreak since Spring.

The recommendation from the University of Arizona orders a three-week stay-home shutdown and asks the state to implement a statewide mask mandate.

The coronavirus outbreak's current surge will present Arizona with a hospital crisis that could become a disaster unless the state takes on more mitigation steps.

Arizona’s top doctor, Cara Christ, explains what the state plans to do.

“All of the metrics continue heading in the wrong direction. My team is working with public health and hospital officials and through public education and enforcement of our existing mitigation measures to address the rising cases,” Dr. Christ said.

Now, as in many states, cases and hospitalizations in Arizona have again surged in the wake of school and business reopenings and public weariness with covid-19 restrictions.

“What we're seeing in the recent increase is the urgent need for people to have their own mask requirements at home. And every time they are around people who aren't members of their household. To put it simply, people are letting down their guard,” the doctor explained.

“That just can't happen if our goal is flattening the curve, what seemed like small lapses can have big consequences when dealing with a disease as highly contagious as COVID-19,” she added.

Arizona’s neighboring state, California, will implement more safety measures going into effect, as new covid cases average nearly five thousand for the last five days.

Los Angeles County is advising residents to stay home as much as possible and away from others especially during the holiday season.

Dr. Barbara Derrer is the director for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“I understand everyone's frustration. We're headed into the holiday season and more than anything. We're all longing to spend time with our friends and family," Dr. Barbara Derrer said.

“We need to not gather with anyone, not in our immediate household, at least for the immediate future,” Dr. Derrer added.

In Arizona, Dr. Christ recommends moving activities outside.

“For the upcoming holidays, I encourage you to keep gathering small and move them outside where fresh air reduces the chances of transmission,” Dr. Christ said.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported.

That's due to many people not getting tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

You can contact Cody at cody.lee@kecytv.com.

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