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Arizona Doctor Urges Caution Ahead Of St. Patrick's Day, Spring Break

Arizona saw spikes in COVID-19 cases following Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, health experts are urging caution for St. Patrick’s Day and spring break. 

“That risk is there, especially with the rate of increase in the variants that we’ve seen across the country,” Dr. Michael White, chief clinical officer of Vallewise Health said Tuesday. 

Arizona is  now averaging fewer than 900 COVID-19 infections per day. In January, the seven-day average was more than 10 times that. White said fewer cases mean significantly less pressure on the state’s health care system. But White said it's too soon to let our guard down. He said Arizonans need to continue to be cautious, wearing masks in public and avoiding crowds or unnecessary travel. 

“The key here is just really getting us to that finish line, over the next month or two months as we continue to vaccinate folks as we continue to expand access to do that, really being able to be vigilant and get us to that end point,” White said. 

White encourages Arizonans to get vaccinated when it’s their turn. More than 22% of Arizonans have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but health experts say the virus is likely to continue spreading until at least 80% of the population is immunized.

→  Q&AZ: What You Need To Know About Getting The Coronavirus Vaccine In Arizona

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.