By Don Herrington, ADHS
Updated community levels from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carry a designation of “high” for La Paz, Navajo and Apache counties. This means masks are recommended for public indoor settings.
Community levels and mitigation recommendations take into account COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and COVID-19’s impact on each county’s health care system. La Paz, Navajo, and Apache counties, while meeting thresholds for high community levels, are seeing far fewer cases than during the winter surge. CDC community levels for all counties can be found here.
Maricopa, Pima, Cochise, Coconino, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties have medium community levels. For these counties, the CDC recommends talking to your health care provider if you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease to find out whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions.
Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Mohave, and Yavapai counties have low community levels.
Whatever the community level is in your area, we recommend assessing your risk and the risk of those around you when deciding on masks and other steps that reduce the spread. Older people and those who have compromised immune systems are at greater risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
An increase in cases that began in early April has leveled off in recent weeks, but COVID-19 remains active in our state. COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low but have been gradually increasing. In May, the highly contagious BA.2 and BA.2.12 Omicron subvariants accounted for nearly all sequenced cases in Arizona.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you should stay home for at least five full days then wear a mask and maintain physical distance until a full 10 days have passed, even if you don’t exhibit symptoms. We list hundreds of testing providers at azhealth.gov/Testing. A resource at azhealth.gov/TestedPositive has easy-to-follow instructions if you test positive. You can find Test to Treat locations, most of them walk-in pharmacy clinics, listed with other therapeutics providers at azhealth.gov/FindTreatment.
Arizona does not have mask mandates, but masks may be required by property owners in certain settings such as businesses and congregate care facilities. We have more information on masks and mask use at azhealth.gov/Masks.
It’s important to keep your vaccine protection up to date. In May, unvaccinated individuals were eight times more likely to be hospitalized and 21 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated with a booster dose. You’ll find convenient providers of safe, free, and highly effective vaccines and booster doses at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older.