Riders - COVID positive rates are continuing to spike in Arizona. There are 6-7,000+ new COVID positives a day (7,718 from yesterday alone), and Arizona is ranked third highest in the nation behind California and Tennessee for the rate of positive tests. Banner Hospitals (one of the largest in the state) is no longer scheduling admissions for surgeries unless they are life-threatening, and more hospitals are expected to follow suit. Only 7% of the hospital beds in Arizona are available. Arizona Department of Health Services is recommending people to stay at home for the holiday season and celebrate only with family members you live with. The Governor recently issued Executive Order 2020-59 which prohibits organized public events of more than 50 people unless permission has been granted by the city in which the event is located and the event provides for COVID mitigation as set forth by AZDHS and the CDC.
Although the mortality rate is still comparatively low, we have lost some Riders to COVID, as well as some family members of ALR Riders. But I believe that AZALR should remain aware of the strain that COVID-related illnesses are putting on our health care system. To hold our quarterly meeting where there will be substantially more than 50 Riders in attendance could very likely result in a what has been called a "super-spreader event", might very well get many of us sick, and even with a mortality rate of around 1.7% to hold a meeting of that size might result in one of our deaths, might result in some of us getting sick and putting a strain on our hospitals, and would totally ignore recommendations from AZDHS, CDC and the Governor's Executive Order.
So, as much as I hate to do it, I have to cancel our January meeting. I will be rescheduling our speakers to a later date.
Our next scheduled meeting is April 10 at ALR 68 in Tucson. Of course, that is something we will have to play by ear as it gets closer; my understanding is that Post 68 is currently closed, and come the end of February we'll have to see what the COVID figures in Arizona look like, whether we can have a meeting at all, and if so whether Post 68 could hold it or if we would have to look for an alternate location in Southern Arizona.
Here's hoping you all have a safe and Happy New Year, and hopefully in 2021 things will start getting back to normal.
Please pass this on to your riders.
Chairman, American Legion Riders, Department of Arizona (AZALR)
Assistant State Captain, PGR (Patriot Guard Riders)