Arizona on Thursday reported 568 new COVID-19 cases, 34 new known deaths and a stable number of hospitalizations that remains well below the peak of the state’s surge in July.
Identified cases rose to 215,852 and known deaths are at 5,559, according to the daily report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The number of patients hospitalized statewide for known or suspected COVID-19 declined slightly to 565 on Wednesday from 583 on Tuesday. Those numbers are well below where they were at during June and July when COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona spiked. During the peak of that surge in July, the number of hospitalized patients suspected or confirmed to have the virus exceeded 3,000.
The number of patients with suspected or known COVID-19 in intensive care units across Arizona rose to 122 on Wednesday, from 114 on Tuesday — a 7% increase. Those numbers are also far below what they were in July when they reached 970.
The number of Arizonans with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 on ventilators rose slightly on Wednesday to 64, up from 62 on Tuesday.
Monday’s total of 47 patients on ventilators was the lowest number that metric had been since the state began recording COVID-19 data on April 8. On the first day the data was collected, there were 133 people statewide on ventilators for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, the data shows.
During the surge, as many as 687 patients across Arizona were on ventilators for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2, also known as the novel or new coronavirus.
Arizona’s COVID-19 death total is the 11th highest of any state in the country, Johns Hopkins University said Thursday. New York has had the highest death toll — 33,090.
The global death toll on Thursday was 977,881 and the U.S. has the highest death count of any country in the world, at 202,170. Arizona’s death total of 5,559 deaths represents 2.7% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. as of Thursday.
The COVID-19 death rate in Arizona was 76 per 100,000 people as of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease and Prevention reported, putting it 10th in the country in a state ranking that separates New York City and New York state. The U.S. average is 61 deaths per 100,000 people, the CDC says.
Behind New York City, at 283 deaths per 100,000 people, the CDC places the highest death rates ahead of Arizona (in order) as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Mississippi, the District of Columbia and New York state.
As of Wednesday, the CDC ranked Arizona ninth in the country for its COVID-19 death rate over the previous seven days. Arizona’s seven-day rate as of Wednesday was 154 deaths per 100,000 people. Texas had the highest rate at 651 deaths per 100,000 people. The other states behind Texas and ahead of Arizona, in order, were Florida, California, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina and Illinois.
Arizona as of Wednesday had one of the highest overall infection rates of COVID-19 infection in the country — fifth behind (in order) Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. Arizona’s infection rate is 2,996 per 100,000 people, the CDC says. The national average is 2,078 cases per 100,000 people, though the rates in states hard-hit early on in the pandemic may be an undercount due to a lack of available testing in March and April.
The Department of Health Services is including as probable cases anyone with a positive antigen test, another type of test to determine current infection. Antigen tests (not related to antibody tests) are a newer type of COVID-19 diagnostic test that use a nasal swab or other fluid sample to test for current infection. Results are typically produced within 15 minutes.
A positive antigen test result is considered very accurate, but there’s an increased chance of false-negative results, the Mayo Clinic says. Depending on the situation, Mayo Clinic officials say a doctor may recommend a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm a negative antigen test result.
Wednesday’s dashboard shows 80% of inpatient beds and 80% of ICU beds in use on Tuesday, which includes people being treated for COVID-19 and other patients. COVID-19 patients were using 8% of all inpatient beds and 8% of ICU beds. Overall, 24% of ventilators were in use.
The number of weekly tests conducted dropped significantly in July and into August, after which it has remained flatter with slight decreases.
Of known test results from the past four weeks, 4% to 5% have come back positive, according to the state, which has a unique way of calculating percent positivity.
Johns Hopkins University calculates Arizona’s seven-day moving average of percent positives at 6.6% and shows it has generally trended downward in recent weeks but has reached a plateau.
A positivity rate of 5% is considered a good benchmark that the spread of the disease is under control.
What you need to know about Thursday’s new numbers
Reported cases in Arizona: 215,852.
Cases increased by 568 on Thursday, or 0.26%, from Wednesday’s 215,284 identified cases since the outbreak began.
Cases by county: 140,584 in Maricopa, 25,140 in Pima, 12,632 in Yuma, 10,462 in Pinal, 5,770 in Navajo, 3,947 in Mohave, 3,918 in Coconino, 3,475 in Apache, 2,830 in Santa Cruz, 2,506 in Yavapai, 1,889 in Cochise, 1,268 in Gila, 811 in Graham, 538 in La Paz and 59 in Greenlee, according to state numbers.
The rate of cases per 100,000 people is highest in Yuma County, followed by Santa Cruz County, Navajo and Apache counties. The rate in Yuma County is 5,493 cases per 100,000 people. By comparison, the U.S. average rate is 2,078 cases per 100,000 people, the CDC says.
The Navajo Nation reported 10,167 cases and 551 confirmed deaths as of Wednesday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
The Arizona Department of Corrections said 2,576 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, including 967 in Tucson; 39,845 inmates statewide have been tested; and 10 total test results are pending in the state prison system. A total of 699 prison staff members have self-reported testing positive, the state corrections department said.
Fifteen incarcerated people in Arizona have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, with 13 additional deaths under investigation.
While race/ethnicity is unknown for 32% of cases statewide, 31% of cases are Hispanic or Latino, 25% of cases are white, 6% are Native American, 3% are Black and 1% are Asian/Pacific Islander.
Laboratories have completed 1,415,991 diagnostic tests for COVID-19, 11.4% of which have come back positive. That number now includes both PCR and antigen testing. The percentage of positive tests had increased since mid-May but began decreasing in July and for the past few weeks has been between 4% and 5%. The state numbers leave out data from labs that do not report electronically.
Reported deaths: 5,559 known deaths
On Thursday, 34 new deaths were reported, although some may have occurred days and weeks prior.
County deaths: 3,329 in Maricopa, 617 in Pima, 344 in Yuma, 233 in Navajo, 223 in Mohave, 207 in Pinal, 164 in Apache, 133 in Coconino, 80 in Yavapai, 71 in Cochise, 63 in Santa Cruz, 54 in Gila, 25 in Graham, 15 in La Paz and fewer than three in Greenlee.
People aged 65 and older made up 3,938 of the 5,525 deaths, or 71%.
While race/ethnicity is unknown for 11% of deaths, 42% of those who died were white, 30% were Hispanic or Latino, 10% were Native American, 3% were Black and 1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, the state data shows.
Arizona Republic reporter Alison Steinbach contributed to this article.
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