SUPERVISOR WANTS BETTER COVID 411
Information flow during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been both a concern and a source of frustration for Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius. It’s a point she’s made before and she repeated it during Monday’s special Board of Supervisors coronavirus management meeting.
Angius said citizens are growingly frustrated about restrictions and regulations when they’re not able to rely upon various statistics about infections, deaths, age groups, etc…
``Here’s the bottom line. People are not trusting the numbers, not just from Mohave County, from everywhere,” Angius said. ``If you’re asking people to give up their lives, there has to be trust in the numbers.”
Angius is not a fan of county use of age ranges rather than specific ages associated with COVID-19 infections and deaths. Assistant Department of Public Health Director Melissa Palmer said county reporting cases in age range is suggested by the Arizona Department of Health Services in order to protect patient confidentiality.
Angius said case and death counts are so high now that citizens won’t be able to identify people who’ve been infected or who’ve died if the county were to match specific age with community. And she questioned if confidentiality is necessary when people have died.
``It seemed to me from day one that the people who are being protected the most are the people who’ve died and that just doesn’t make sense to me,” Angius said. ``I’ve always thought it important that people know the exact ages, not just a range.”
Palmer said she would ask state officials if Mohave County can be more age specific in reporting cases and deaths.
Angius also wants to know how many people have died of non-coronavirus causes in the two years preceding the pandemic.
``In an ordinary flu season we have people dying from the flu and from pneumonia. We’re not hearing about that. How is that lining up`` Angius queried. ``I guess my point is, is everyone who’s died from pneumonia in the last 4 or 5 months, is that being counted as a COVID death?”
Palmer told supervisors six newly-hired coronavirus case investigators started training Monday and will be ready to begin contact tracing efforts by Thursday. She said two more investigators will join staff soon as they chip away at a back log of work.
``If we had a couple of additional staff members we could potentially get 100% caught up,” Palmer said. Her comment saw the board approve supervisor Buster Johnson’s motion to hire two more investigators for contact tracing.
Angius noted she is frequently asked if a person who tests positive twice is represented twice in updated new case counts. Palmer said a twice positive person is a single case statistic.