Latest Update from your State Senator Lela Alston

Monday November 23, 2020


Dear Friends,

The alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in Arizona and throughout the country has occupied a good deal of our news cycles, and for good reason! As we enter flu season, as well as the holidays, our susceptibility to exposure will only increase unless we are proactive and take the pandemic seriously.

We are all experiencing COVID-19 fatigue, particularly our children. Our communities, businesses, schools and economy are all suffering. Many people laid off during the pandemic remain unemployed and most people who have applied for rental assistance are still waiting to be approved.

The positive news about two vaccine trials offers great hope for a vaccine in 2021. However, we must remain diligent until the virus is under control and a vaccine is safe.

This newsletter will be brief, with one strong message and plea. Please take COVID-19 seriously and adhere to the public health guidelines encouraged by public health experts—wear a mask, social distance, refrain from large gatherings, remain home as much as possible, particularly if you are ill. These basic public health actions will help to curb the infection rate and save lives.

COVID-19 and Our Schools

Several school districts are feeling the impact of the escalating COVID-19 cases in their communities. Many are reassessing procedures, the return to the classroom and deliberating on whether to return to virtual teaching. I encourage everyone to visit the Arizona Education Department website for information about school districts in their area for the latest updates on your local schools.

 COVID-19 Arizona Disease Outbreak Outlook

 I am including an update created by Dr. Joe K. Gerald, MD, PhD, University of Arizona, Zuckerman College of Public Health in this newsletter because it provides an eye-opening summary of COVID-19 in AZ. Dr. Gerald’s November 11, 2020 report, in summary, states the following:

  • “For the week ending November 8th, 13,195 new Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in Arizona. This represents a 53% increase from last week’s initial tally of 8597 cases.
  • Case counts continue to increase broadly among all age groups. 
  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record, current conditions really do warrant an immediate reappraisal of government mitigation efforts as well as reinforcement of individual adherence behaviors with face masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene practices.
  • It is difficult to appreciate just how quickly exponential growth can cause conditions to deteriorate.
  • Consider that current transmission levels are on par with those of the second week of June when 12,967 cases were diagnosed. A mere 2 weeks later, Arizona’s case count peaked at 27,796 weekly cases.
  • If past experience is any guide, Arizona could set a new weekly record before the end of the month.
  • Even though the same number of Covid-19 cases is yielding fewer hospitalizations and deaths today than in June, Arizona is still poised to overwhelm its hospital capacity unless action is quickly taken.
  • It goes without saying that this year’s Thanksgiving – New Year’s holiday season will be a difficult one for health care providers.”

The complete report can be found in this PDF:

To keep posted on the latest COVID-19 numbers, free masks, COVID-19 testing and more, visit

COVID-19 Long Haulers

COVID Long Haulers refer to people who contracted the virus several months ago and developed symptoms that continue to compromise their health and their lives. Shortness of breath, severe migraines, “heavy limb syndrome,” poor balance and more are just a few of the long-term symptoms that Long Haulers endure. Last’s night’s episode of CBS “60 Minutes” describes what COVID Long Haulers are experiencing and how COVID-19 is still affecting their lives. The link to the segment is here and I encourage you to watch, if you did not catch it on Sunday night.  The Long Haulers interviewed were all young, energetic and athletic—they did not fall into any high-risk group. COVID-19 Long Haulers Syndrome emphasizes the seriousness of the virus, and the fact that we do not know the long-term results that it will have on those who are infected.


FINAL Thoughts—Wear a Mask, Wash Your Hands, Social Distance

We have all heard the medical experts’ encouragement to stay home this Thanksgiving, or, take very serious precautions if we choose to celebrate with our families. I am including ASU’s Biodesign COVID-19 Modeling Update, as well as this summary to provide readers with an eye-opening look into what could happen if we don’t adhere to basic public health precautions: The entire Modeling Update can be found here:

  • Timeline Projections:
    • The current hospital and ICU estimates indicate that hospital capacity could be reached as soon as 12/13 and 12/22 respectively with no additional mitigations to reduce community transmission.
    • Without additional interventions and mitigation, the latest we expect hospital and ICU capacity to be reached is 12/31 and 1/11 respectively.
  • Implications:
    • Based on the amount of community spread we are seeing now, combined with expected increases related to Thanksgiving travel and celebrations with household mixing, current hospital capacity will be exceeded in December.
    • Additional emergency public health interventions will be necessary to control transmission and preserve healthcare capacity in Arizona including a state-wide mask mandate, preventing gatherings of more than 10 people, closing bars, and decreasing capacity restrictions at restaurants with effective enforcement.
    • Without additional public health measures, holiday gatherings are likely to cause 600-

1,200 additional deaths from COVID-19 in Arizona by February 1 beyond current scenario death projections.

I leave you today with a link to Dr. Ross Goldberg’s Op-Ed piece in today’s Arizona Republic. This says it all:

Opinion: If you trust your doctor, listen to our plea: Now, more than ever, we need you to wear a mask, physically distance and wash your hands.

AZ latest COVID-19 statistics:

We currently have 302,324 confirmed COVID cases and overnight, we added 2, 659 new cases. Our Diagnostic Positivity Test rate is 10.3%.

I wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. Please stay safe.  I value your feedback so please continue sending your questions and comments to

Thank you,

Lela Alston

LD 24 State Senator

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