Embry Health vaccination site

An Embry Health official checks in a patient at the Lake Havasu City Embry Health site.

PHOENIX — Hospital officials and public health experts in Arizona are warning against dismissing omicron because of its reputation for being a less severe covid-19 variant.

Dr. Michael White, of Phoenix-based Valleywise Health, said amid reports that some people are deliberately trying to catch the highly contagious variant, believing they will suffer mild illness in exchange for gaining natural immunity.

Early studies show omicron is less likely to cause severe illness than the previous delta variant. But vaccination and a booster still offer strong protection from serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Dr. Joshua LaBaer, executive director of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, also said not to be dismissive of it. There’s always a chance omicron could trigger serious illness or long-haul covid-19 symptoms down the road, he said.

“Voluntarily getting infected when the health care system is already stressed and potentially adding to that stress is probably not a great idea either,” LaBaer said. “The whole system is something we have to pay attention to.”

Hospitalizations for covid-19 have been inching upward in the state since Dec. 31, when they were 2,283. They were up to 2,929 as of Tuesday.

In Mohave County, Kingman Regional Medical Center is treating 52 patients for covid, 13 of which are in the ICU. According to the center’s website, about a third of the 1,517 tests it performed in the last seven days have come back positive. Numbers for Havasu Regional Medical Center were not available before the News-Herald’s publication deadline, but HRMC officials were among hospital representatives who signed a letter to the state seeking assistance amid increased cases and staffing shortages.

According to KRMC CEO Will McConnell there is some good news amid all the positive cases when comparing this surge of covid to past surges.

“The current surge feels very different than prior surges. Our percent positive rate and the raw number of positive cases over the most recent 7- and 30-day periods are the highest they have ever been,” McConnell said. “The good news is that we are seeing fewer hospital admissions from those positive covidcases. Hopefully that means that we are in the process of moving from pandemic to endemic status for covid. While the next few weeks will be challenging, we are hopeful change is on the horizon as our staff could use a reprieve.``

Sonora Quest Laboratories, which conducts the majority of covid-19 tests in Arizona, broke its single-day record for number of tests processed on Tuesday. The state’s largest diagnostic lab went through over 34,000 samples, Chief Operating Officer Sonya Engle said in a statement.

Embry Health, one of the main testing providers in Mohave County, announced on its Twitter that a record number of appointments for testing, 48,359, was booked on Monday.

Meanwhile, the state coronavirus dashboard reported a record high of 18,783 new confirmed covid-19 cases Wednesday. Another six virus-related deaths were also reported. This brings Arizona’s pandemic totals to 1,524,363 cases and 24,992 deaths.

Today's News-Herald staff writer Joey Postiglione contributed to this story.


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(6) comments


It is difficult to believe the defeated loser did not say COVID is a hoax when he said this on 28 February 2020 - “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. They tried the impeachment hoax. ... AND THIS IS THEIR NEW HOAX.”

However, that pales in comparison to the lies he told the American people that have led, so far, to the deaths of over 800,000 American men, women and children. In case you forgot, here are just a few of his lies -

“When we get into April (2020), in the warmer weather—that has a very negative effect on that, and that type of a virus.”

“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.”

“If the economic shutdown continues, deaths by suicide definitely would be in far greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about for COVID-19 deaths.”

“Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere, and cases are coming way down.”

“The pandemic is fading away. It’s going to fade away.”

Thursday, July 2, 2020 “The pandemic is getting under control.”

Saturday, July 4, 2020 “99% of COVID-19 cases are totally harmless.”

Monday, July 6, 2020 “We now have the lowest Fatality (Mortality) Rate in the World.”

“Children are virtually immune to COVID-19”.

Thursday, August 27, 2020 – “The U.S. has among the lowest case-fatality rates of any major country anywhere in the world.”

“America is rounding the corner and rounding the final turn of the pandemic.”

“The media is overblowing fears about the virus ahead of Election Day.”

"What happens is, you get better after being sick with COVID-19. That's what happens: You get better.”

“You get better and then you’re immune.”.


Little bobby the cut and paste evicted village idiot is at it again. Go away and take up Sedona's local paper until your booted out of there too. We don't need your babbling rhetoric....


Fact #1 - Trump never said that covid was a hoax. Fact #2 - Communist Joe Biden claimed that 'Operation Warp Speed' would eliminate the virus. "Hand me the envelope please. And the winner for 'Liar of the Year' goes to, Joe Biden. Joe's unfortunately not able to be with us tonight so accepting this award for him is his wife, self-proclaimed doctor, Jill Biden."


Not vaccinated in trouble. Trump said Covid was a Hoax. What a liar.




Get the shot or maybe get a cold. Trump never said covid was a hoax. He said what the pharmaceuticals and now what trader joe are making of it is a hoax. Get the shot you can still catch the flu. Get the shot you can still give others the flu. Get the shot and maybe you won't get the flu as bad. First shot didn't work so get a booster, then another booster because the first booster didn't work. I realize this is a deadly flu for some but the only thing shots have done is made pharmaceuticals and others lots of money. For that I thank you. Keep on getting those boosters....

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