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Arizona reports 2 new COVID-19 deaths, more than 100 additional cases

Medical personnel help each other at a federal COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in the parking lot of Walmart in North Lake, Ill., Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

PHOENIX – Arizona on Thursday morning reported two new COVID-19 deaths and more than 100 additional cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The case total jumped to 508 from 401 in the past day, and death toll increased to eight.

The Arizona Department of Health Services has been providing daily case updates on its website each morning.

With La Paz County reporting its first two cases Wednesday night, 13 of the state’s 15 counties have been impacted.

All counties with reported cases must follow Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order to close bars and ban dine-in service at restaurants. Theaters, gyms, fitness centers and other businesses where crowds gather must also close under the order.

Almost half of Thursday’s 107 new cases were reported in the Phoenix area. Maricopa County now has 299 cases, a daily increase of 48. The death toll in the state’s most-populous county increased by one to four.

Fifty-eight patients in Maricopa County have required hospitalization, 23 more than the previous day.

In addition to Maricopa County, the state breakdown by county was as follows: Pima 75, Navajo 43, Pinal 35, Coconino 28, Apache nine, Yavapai five, Yuma four, and two each in Mohave, La Paz, Graham, Cochise and Santa Cruz.

Only Greenlee and Gila counties remained free of cases.

With the disease now appearing in 13 counties, the health department increased the state’s community transmission level from “moderate” to “widespread.”

“Given widespread transmission, all Arizonans should expect that COVID-19 is circulating in their community,” Health Director Dr. Cara Christ said in a press release.

“COVID-19 is a serious disease that is highly contagious and can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. Protecting those at highest risk of complications and ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared to deal with a surge in cases is our highest priority. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect themselves and their family from this disease.”

On Wednesday, state officials provided an estimate of tests given that included work done in private labs for the first time. Christ said more than 6,600 Arizonans had been tested.

“Currently roughly 95% of these tests are negative and 4.6% of these tests are positive,” she said during a press conference.

Christ said that while the capacity for testing has been increasing, which is reflected in a rise in cases, there’s still a shortage of supplies and protective equipment for health care workers. As a result, there aren’t enough tests for everyone who wants one, so high-risk populations will be prioritized.

“Our recommendation is individuals social distance,” she said. “If they are sick, stay home. If they are high risk, stay home. We’ll continue to evaluate the data and make recommendations to keep individuals safe.”

Christ also said models are projecting that Arizona COVID-19 cases could peak in April, with hospitalizations peaking in May.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 994 deaths from more than 68,000 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers, there have been more than 492,000 cases globally, resulting in more than 22,000 deaths.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

If you’re looking to support a local business or are a business that wants to let people know your doors are open, visit ktar.com/openforbusiness.

To help contain the spread of COVID-19 health officials have issued the following recommendations:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Don’t make close contact with sick individuals.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away.
  • Clean and disinfect objects that are frequently touched.

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