The Arizona Department of Health Services dashboard, which updates every Thursday, showed that Maricopa County has met two of the three coronavirus benchmarks designed to guide schools on when it’s safe to start in-person learning this year.
Arizona’s most populous county met the benchmarks for a two-week decline in cases. The report also shows that the county met guidance for two consecutive weeks with hospital visits for COVID-like illnesses below 10%, coming in at 5.3% for the week of July 26.
15 counties met at least one metric.
The benchmark that was not met was the requirement of two consecutive weeks with a positivity rate of 7% or less. The positivity rate was 11.8%.
The metrics are guidelines set by a collaborative effort between state health and education leaders. The data looks at weeks beginning July 19 and July 26 and doesn’t look at the past 12 days because of potential lags in data.
Most state school districts have begun their academic year with virtual-only instruction. Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman recently urged schools to adhere to the benchmarks, although districts ultimately have the final say in the decision.
Some valley schools announced plans to open campuses for learning next week.
List of Arizona counties that met benchmarks:
Apache – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Cochise – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Coconino – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Gila – Met 1 of 3 benchmarks
Graham – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Greenlee – Met 1 of 3 benchmarks
La Paz – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Maricopa – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Mohave – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Navajo – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Pima – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Pinal – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Santa Cruz – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Yavapai – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks
Yuma – Met 2 of 3 benchmarks