Social Distancing Efforts Appear to be Working to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Maricopa County data shows a slower rise in hospitalizations
PHOENIX (April 8, 2019)—Maricopa County Department of Public Health data is showing that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is growing at a slower rate since the end of March than in the weeks prior. This is likely attributed to the protective measures individuals and the community are taking to slow the spread of disease.
“When we look at the hospitalization epidemiology curve, we can see that the number of new severe COVID-19 cases is not growing as rapidly as it was several weeks ago,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “This tells us that, while the number of severe cases is still increasing, we have started to flatten the curve in Maricopa County.
“This is important because, while this will not stop disease from occurring, it will spread it out more evenly over time so we have enough healthcare resources to give people the best healthcare when they need it,” Sunenshine added.
An epidemiology or “epi” curve is a public health tool used frequently in outbreaks that visualizes how many cases occur over time. It’s an important tool to use because it tells us if the number of cases is growing rapidly and when we are over the peak. In the COVID-19 outbreak, slowing the spread of disease is important to keep the number of cases at any one time within the limits of what the local healthcare system is able to manage. A hospitalization epi curve looks specifically at those who are hospitalized, showing the trends of the most severe cases and allowing epidemiologists—public health experts who assess health data at the community level—to estimate how many are impacted with less-severe symptoms in the community even, when there is not enough testing available.
Dr. Sunenshine added, “The epi curve is a really good tool for telling us what is happening in our community as close to real time as we can get. It does not give us information the same day it happens or predict what will happen in the future. The best way to control the number of cases is if we all do our part to continue social distancing.”
Social distancing is avoiding those outside of your household as much as possible and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between others when you are out in public. A few examples of acceptable activities while practicing social distancing include:
- Phone calls and video chats
- Walks around your neighborhood while keeping 6 feet between you and others
- Virtual book clubs
- Online workouts
- Video chats over coffee or meals to replace having coffee or meals together in-person
If you think you might be sick with COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19, please immediately isolate yourself from others in your household. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Sore throat
Download the graphic on what you can do to flatten the curve >
If you are sick, have been around someone who is sick, or are caring for someone who is sick, please see https://www.maricopa.gov/5512/Sick-or-Exposed-to-COVID-19 for details on what you can do to protect yourself and those around you.
For more information on COVID-19 and what you can do to stop the spread, please visit www.Maricopa.gov/COVID19 for English or www.Maricopa.gov/COVID19es for Spanish.