Maricopa County Public Health is now requiring all county workers wear face masks, and they’re urging you to do the same.
“As things open, as individuals go outside, as they interact more, the spread is going to increase,” said Marcy Flanagan, Executive Director of Maricopa County Public Health. “Why we are pushing masks so hard now, is because we know people do not want to go back to stay at home order – we heard that message loud and clear.”
Since the stay at home order was lifted in May, community spread has become rampant with a quarter of all coronavirus cases in Maricopa County coming about in just the last week. “The reason we know this is not just about more tests is because the percent positive has risen,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Medical Director of Maricopa County Public Health. “Two weeks ago, it was at 5% and now it is up to 9 percent and climbing.”
Dr. Sunenshine doesn’t believe this is a second wave. She actually believes this is the same active disease, spreading more aggressively now that people are back out interacting. “Remember for this disease, every person infected infects another 2-3 people so if you do the math… these 2-3 each infect another 2-3 and so on… You have a rapid escalation in cases,” said Dr. Sunenshine.
County officials believe a simple mask can prevent the spread. “The person wearing a cloth face mask can decrease their exposure by 60% if the mask is made well and fits well,” said Dr. Sunenshine.
We all appreciate being able to go out to dinner, get back to work. Flanagan feels that there is a level of personal responsibility that we can ensure those things stay in place but that the spread is flattened to a level that our hospitals can function at a level that can protect us all.
Wearing a mask, washing hands, staying home, avoiding groups of 10 or more and maintaining a social distance of 6 feet continues to be important and county officials believe it is everyone’s responsibility to continue to do so until a vaccine is widely available.