PHOENIX - There are slightly more than a million documented cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, and according to state health officials, the largest portion of cases are among those 20 to 44 years old.
Nearly a thousand people in that age category have died, and the widow of a 31-year-old Phoenix man who lost his battle against the virus is speaking out.
Adam Sherry's daughter turned four without her father
With the love of her life and provider for their young family dead, one could see the pain on Christina Joyce's face.
"He was an amazing dad, a dedicated husband. He was always there. He never missed a thing," said Joyce.
Joyce's husband, Adam Sherry, passed away in an ICU on Sept. 11, one day before his daughter turned four years old. Sherry died just weeks after feeling COVID-19 symptoms. Joyce, along with her daughter, also caught the virus.
Neither Joyce nor Sherry were vaccinated.
"A few days before he got sick, we were talking about when it would be best for the two of us to go get vaccinated," said Joyce.
While Joyce and her little girl recovered, Sherry had to be put on a ventilator in the ICU for nine days by the start of September.
"It was agonizing. It was really hard. I had to watch, in less than a month, him go from playing with our daughter to making the decision to take him off the vent because he wasn’t gonna get better," said Joyce.
Joyce says the ongoing pandemic is a heartbreaking reminder of who she has lost.
"It still feels like he's gonna come home," said Joyce. "I don’t know if that will get better. I miss him constantly."
Joyce, who has been a stay-at-home mother for four years, now needs to provide for her daughter, as a single mother.
Medical experts say people should remain vigilant
Doctors from Banner Health and Valleywise say they are cautiously optimistic about a downward hospitalization trend, but they also say people should stay vigilant against the delta variant.
With flu season coming, health officials are expecting a winter spike, as well as an increase in workload.
"Based on some of the models that we have, it will start increasing again," said Banner Health's Chief Clinical Officer. Dr. Marjorie Bessel. "We're also predicting, just as I said in my opening comments, a severe flu season."
"It has the potential to increase the workload around it, as we get closer and closer into flu season. We'll see what the true impact of that will be," said Valleywise Health's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Michael White.
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In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily
- Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms
- Does wearing a face mask protect you from coronavirus and other infectious diseases?
- Social distancing: What to do and what not to do to slow the spread of COVID-19
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CDC Website for COVID-19
https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS Website for COVID-19
https://www.azdhs.gov/covid19/es/index.php (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS Website for COVID-19 Vaccination
https://www.azdhs.gov/covid19/es/vaccines/index.php (In Spanish/En Español)