Arizona reported 975 new COVID-19 cases and six new known deaths Friday as new cases continue upward trends but metrics remain far below levels from the summer peak.
The past several weeks have seen relatively higher daily case reports as the virus spreads at its fastest rate in Arizona since June.
Identified cases rose to 235,882 and known deaths were at 5,865, according to the daily report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The number of patients hospitalized statewide for known or suspected COVID-19 cases was at 815 on Thursday, a drop from 848 inpatients on Wednesday, which was the highest reported since Aug. 26. At the peak of Arizona’s 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 was at 172 on Thursday, up from 164 on Wednesday. Sunday’s 177 ICU beds in use was the highest it’s been since Sept. 11. The level is far below what it was in July, when ICU beds in use for COVID-19 reached 970.
The number of Arizonans with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 on ventilators was at 85 on Thursday, down from 92 on Wednesday. Sunday’s 94 ventilators in use was the highest daily level since Sept. 10. In mid-July, as many as 687 patients across the state with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 were on ventilators.
Friday’s dashboard shows 86% of inpatient beds and 84% of ICU beds in use, which includes people being treated for COVID-19 and other patients. COVID-19 patients were using 9% of all inpatient beds and 10% of ICU beds. Overall, 26% of ventilators were in use.
The number of weekly tests conducted dropped significantly in July and into August, after which it began to increase somewhat through September and into October.
Of known test results from last week, 5% have come back positive, according to the state, which has a unique way of calculating percent positivity. Prior to that, percent positivity was at 4% for the six weeks prior, per state data.
Johns Hopkins University calculates Arizona’s seven-day moving average of percent positives at 9.1%. It shows the state’s percent positivity had reached a relative plateau and is now trending slightly upward.
A positivity rate of 5% is considered a good benchmark that the spread of the disease is under control.
ADHS has begun including probable cases as 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 another 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.
Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s new numbers:
Reported cases in Arizona: 235,882
Cases increased by 975, or 0.42%, from Thursday’s 234,906 identified cases since the outbreak began.
Cases by county: 152,695 in Maricopa, 27,297 in Pima, 13,442 in Yuma, 11,638 in Pinal, 6,238 in Navajo, 4,925 in Coconino, 4,244 in Mohave, 3,826 in Apache, 2,968 in Santa Cruz, 2,864 in Yavapai, 2,098 in Cochise, 1,830 in Gila, 1,105 in Graham, 611 in La Paz and 100 in Greenlee, according to state numbers.
The rate of cases per 100,000 people is highest in Yuma County, followed by Santa Cruz, Navajo and Apache counties. The rate in Yuma County is 5,845 cases per 100,000 people. By comparison, the U.S. average rate is 2,512 cases per 100,000 people, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Navajo Nation reported 11,101 cases and 574 confirmed deaths as of Thursday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
The Arizona Department of Corrections said 2,621 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, including 992 in Tucson; 40,756 inmates statewide have been tested. A total of 735 prison staff members have self-reported testing positive, the state corrections department said. Eighteen incarcerated people in Arizona have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, with 10 additional deaths under investigation.
While race/ethnicity is unknown for 29% of cases statewide, 31% of cases are Hispanic or Latino, 26% are white, 6% are Native American, 3% are Black and 1% are Asian/Pacific Islander.
Laboratories have completed 1,681,469 diagnostic tests for COVID-19, 10.3% 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. It was at 4% for six weeks before hitting 5% last week. The state numbers leave out data from labs that do not report electronically.
Arizona, as of Thursday, had one of the higher overall rates of COVID-19 infection in the country — 13th behind North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Iowa, Arkansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Georgia, according to the CDC. Arizona’s infection rate is 3,262 cases per 100,000 people, the CDC said. The national average is 2,512 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.
Reported deaths: 5,865 known deaths
On Friday, six new known deaths were reported.
County deaths: 3,536 in Maricopa, 635 in Pima, 354 in Yuma, 238 in Navajo, 230 in Mohave, 217 in Pinal, 168 in Apache, 147 in Coconino, 87 in Yavapai, 73 in Cochise, 70 in Gila, 65 in Santa Cruz, 27 in Graham, 16 in La Paz and fewer than three in Greenlee.
People aged 65 and older made up 4,171 of the 5,865 deaths, or 71%.
While race/ethnicity is unknown for 11% of deaths, 42% of those who died were white, 30% were Hispanic or Latino, 11% were Native American, 3% were Black and 1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, the state data show.
The global death toll on Friday was 1,138,955 and the U.S. had the highest death count of any country in the world, at 223,087, according to Johns Hopkins University. Arizona’s death total of 5,865 deaths represents 2.6% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. as of Friday.
The COVID-19 death rate in Arizona was 81 per 100,000 people as of Thursday, according to the CDC, putting it 10th in the country in a state ranking that separates New York City and New York state. The U.S. average is 67 deaths per 100,000 people, the CDC says.
Behind New York City, at 285 deaths per 100,000 people, the CDC put the highest death rates ahead of Arizona as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Mississippi, the District of Columbia and New York state.
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