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Yuma County seeing less COVID-19 tests amid vaccine rollout


News 11's Adonis Albright speaks with the County Public Health District about whether there's risk of a "Spring surge"

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma County is seeing comparatively less COVID-19 tests being performed than months prior. Over the past week, the county has reported 1,100 new tests. With Easter Sunday right around the corner, there's concern over a so-called "Spring surge" in COVID-19 cases, a scene that's currently playing out in other parts of the U.S.

The Yuma County Public Health District Director, Diana Gomez, tells News 11 that the numbers suggest people might be putting their guard down. But, we're not out of the woods just yet.

“We’re seeing testing decrease, as people have shifted to [the] vaccine, that has been the focus. So, more people are interested in getting the vaccine, which is a good thing, but it’s important to remember that testing remains an important surveillance strategy. That is how we know what the number of cases are, what the level of prevalence is in the community. It also helps us identify if there’s any variants in the community.”

Gomez also said whether people have been fully vaccinated or not, the county is still expecting people to gather. Despite this, she's optimistic the potential uptick will be nothing compared to what we saw in December due to the vaccine rollout and the current infection rate in the county.

“We’ve had people that have had the disease and have recovered, and we have people that have been vaccinated and have a level of protection. So, I’m hopeful that those two things combined continue to contribute to us having lower numbers. So, even though we might see an increase, I’m hopeful that it’s nothing that will overwhelm our health care system."

As of Friday, more than 96,000 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered within Yuma County. Although that number is promising, it isn't reflective of how many residents have been fully vaccinated.

“I want to say about 36 to 37,000 people have been fully vaccinated, so we still have a ways to go, but we’re making progress.”

On the other hand, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Yuma County have been steadily on the decline over the past couple of weeks. On Friday, Yuma County reported 20 new cases, and 8 patients hospitalized with the virus. As more people continue to get vaccinated, the county expects this trend to continue.

The county is also reminding the public that even after you've received your second dose, there is still a two week window before your immune system is primed, and the vaccine is at full efficacy. It's still recommended to wear a mask when in public, because being vaccinated does not provide 100% immunity from COVID-19.

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated and have waited two weeks, however, the CDC says people can safely gather without wearing masks.

For more information on coronavirus testing locations and how to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, click here.

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Adonis Albright

Adonis Albright anchors the News 11 shows at 5 PM, 6 PM, and 10 PM.

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