YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz.-- Beginning in early August, Arizona’s experience with COVID-19 seemed to stabilize.
Statewide as of August 10, the number of new cases had declined 48% over the previous seven days. A large backlog of COVID tests in Arizona was also cleared, with the median turnaround time now clocking in at two days after common reports of 15 day-turnarounds in the latter part of July.
In another positive sign, all possible ways of figuring the metrics showed that Arizona’s cumulative percent positive ratio of COVID tests is now under 10%. By August 17, the number of acute care beds and ventilators in use in Arizona hospitals declined to their lowest levels since early June.
The positive news was just as apparent locally. On August 17, Yuma Regional Medical Center reported 41 current COVID hospitalizations, the lowest number since data reporting began in late May. The number of reported daily COVID deaths in Yuma County, which fell below five on only one day in July, declined to zero on August 16 and 17.
Despite these highly encouraging trends, however, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) senior leaders caution that this is no time for complacency.
“Daily cases rates are on the decline,” said Maj. Jennifer Fiandt, YPG Health Clinic OIC. “However, COVID is still present in our community. We really recommend that people continue to use masks in public, practice social distancing, and pay good attention to hand hygiene whenever you are out in the community.”
Fiandt credits widespread adoption of face masks in public places in the wake of local mandates in cities throughout Yuma County with the drop.
“I think you can track the decline in cases locally directly to increased compliance with masking,” said Fiandt.
Throughout the pandemic, YPG’s work in support of Army modernization efforts has not stopped, which is reflected in the post’s direct labor hours.
“We are about 6% behind where we were last year, which is not bad considering the circumstances,” said Col. Patrick McFall, YPG Commander. “We have found innovative ways to continue our mission. As we look to the end of the year, we should end the year close or on par with where we were last year.”
YPG’s vital mission must proceed without fail, he added.
“We are a national asset,” said McFall. “The Department of Defense is relying upon on us to do our mission, and everyone here is important to this mission.”
As for post life, FMWR facilities like the post library and the Auto Skills Center reopened consistent with Army safety guidelines during the second week of the month, as did the facilities, the post fitness center for Soldiers and first responders with a fitness requirement related to their work. Senior leaders say other facilities will reopen in due course as the broader Yuma community’s numbers continue to decline.