PHOENIX — Arizona’s coronavirus metrics continue to improve as Maricopa County reports 177 new cases and zero deaths Monday. The news comes as school districts in the state were due to open at least one facility for in-person learning.
The state only reported 468 new cases Monday, along with zero deaths. That brings Arizona’s total of cases and deaths to 194,005 and 4506, respectively. About 12 percent of tests are coming back positive statewide.
In Maricopa County, the percent positive is just over 13 percent. The county has now met two of the three recommended guidelines for schools reopening: a decline in cases and two consecutive weeks with hospital visits below 10 percent.
All school districts were due to open at least one school for an in-person option Monday for students with nowhere else to go. The Queen Creek Unified School District opened all schools for in-person learning, despite many teachers resigning in protest. The same goes for the American Leadership Academy charter schools. At least one district, the J.O. Combs Unified School District in the San Tan Valley, had planned to open all schools for in-person learning Monday but changed course once teachers began calling out sick in droves.
Schools are not required to follow the state’s guidelines and reopening is a decision Gov. Doug Ducey supports.
“We’re going to leave ultimate and final decisions to superintendents and principals, and I’m confident they’ll make good decisions,” he said in Thursday’s coronavirus briefing.
For businesses like gyms, bars and movie theaters, only one of the state’s required benchmarks has shifted with Monday’s data. Reduced hospital visits with COVID-like symptoms has been moved to the moderate stage in Maricopa County, but the others — percent positivity and cases per 100,000 people — remain substantial, indicating community spread is still high. Those businesses with a high potential to spread the virus will likely stay closed for a little while longer, though many have submitted plans for reopening.
EoS Fitness, a chain with approximately 20 gyms throughout the Valley, had a reopening plan approved by the state, according to the Arizona Republic.