Arizona reports more than 2,500 new coronavirus cases, 1 death
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for the week starting June 15. (Previous daily updates: June 8-14)
PHOENIX — The Arizona health department reported more than 2,500 new coronavirus cases Sunday morning.
With 2,592 new COVID-19 cases, the state’s total rose to 52,390. The health department also reported one additional fatality, increasing the death toll to 1,339.
On Saturday, the state reported 3,109 new cases and 26 deaths.
The single-day high for cases was 3,246 reported on Friday.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has been providing case and testing updates on its website each morning. The dashboard includes, among other information, testing trends, updated hospital capacity and a ZIP Code map of cases.
The daily reports present data after the state receives statistics and compiles them, which can lag by several days. They aren’t meant to represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.
The number of cases reported in Arizona has been rising at a faster rate than testing has increased, indicating community spread, since the state’s stay-at-home order expired last month.
For the nearly 567,000 PCR tests given for active infections in the state, including 17,663 reported Sunday, the positive rate jumped to 10.1%, continuing an upward surge. It was 9.8% on Saturday and 6.7% on May 31.
Of the PCR samples collected this week that have been processed, 19% have come back positive. That figure was a pandemic-high 15% last week.
The weekly PCR positive rate has risen every week since the week starting May 10, when it was 5%.
The total of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients currently checked into Arizona’s hospitals increased Saturday to a high mark of 1,942, an increase of four over the previous day.
Overall hospital bed usage slightly increased to 85% on Saturday, up from 84% on Friday.
On May 15, the day the state’s stay-at-home order expired, inpatient bed usage was at 74% and ICU bed usage was at 72%.
Of the state’s 1,418 ICU beds filled Saturday, a pandemic high of 556 were used for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, up from 546 the previous day. Only 246 of the state’s current ICU bed supply remained unused.
On the positive side, 191 positive or suspected COVID-19 patients were discharged from Arizona hospitals Saturday, the third consecutive day of increased discharges and most in a day since April 20.
Arizona officials have said hospitals have the capacity to handle the rising number of COVID-19 patients. The capacity data on the health department’s website don’t include surge beds that can be activated if needed.
On Wednesday, Gov. Doug Ducey gave local governments the authority to implement face mask requirements to help slow the coronavirus spread. Many Valley cities have indicated they would impose mask requirements or consider imposing them in the coming days.
Ducey also announced additional operational requirements for restaurants and bars and signed an executive order to expand contact tracing for coronavirus cases.
On Thursday, Health Director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show she expects the coronavirus case total to get worse before policy changes make an impact.
Below are the latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
Sunday, June 21
- Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said the city’s mask policy will not be enforced at President Donald Trump’s Tuesday event at a Valley megachurch.
Saturday, June 20
- Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reported 69 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths. The nation sits at 6,963 total cases and 334 deaths, with 3,470 recoveries.
- Big Surf Waterpark announced Saturday the park will remain closed for the 2020 season. Daily and season passes will be valid for the 2021 season.
- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced this week that travelers from Arizona would be required to undergo a 14 day quarantine.
Friday, June 19
- A Navajo Police Department officer from Arizona has died due to COVID-19.
- The Phoenix Zoo announced that it will require all guests to wear a face covering while entering the zoo and when proper social distancing isn’t attainable.
- AMC, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, and others across metro Phoenix have announced plans to reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Phoenix City Council issued a declaration Friday requiring most residents to wear a face mask when they are in public to curb further spreading of the coronavirus.
- Apple announced Friday it was temporarily closing all six of its Arizona stores because of health concerns as the state’s coronavirus situation worsens.
Thursday, June 18
- Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reported an increase of 85 coronavirus cases among the Navajo Nation and a total death count of 324. While 6,832 individual have contracted COVID-19, there have been approximately 3,414 recoveries.
- Mesa Public Schools announced an initial reopening plan for the upcoming school year that includes an option for students to engage in remote education.
- After setting a record with nearly 1.8 million passengers last year, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has seen a steep decline due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show she expects the coronavirus case total to get worse before policy changes make an impact.
- Three Phoenix-area casinos were shut down by their tribal operator in response to Arizona’s spike in coronavirus cases. Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva were closed at 2 a.m. Thursday and will stay shuttered for two weeks, Gila River Gaming said.
Wednesday, June 17
- Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced an increase of 75 new coronavirus cases among the Navajo Nation and a total death count of 322. While the total number of COVID-19 cases within the Navajo Nation has reached 6,747, Approximately 3,342 individuals are reported to have recovered from the virus.
- Ducey announced additional operational requirements for restaurants and bars in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order that will implement a system to expand coronavirus contact tracing. It will use National Guard resources, including up to 300 members.
- Valley Metro riders will be required to wear a face covering when riding transit starting July 1 to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, a press release Wednesday announced.
- Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb tested positive for the coronavirus and will be self-quarantining for at least 14 days, he posted to the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook account.
- Ducey said he would give local governments the authority to make wearing face masks in public mandatory.
- Ducey wore a face mask before the briefing on Wednesday. He took it off to speak during the press conference.
- A group of Maricopa County medical professionals wants Ducey to mandate a mask policy in public as cases continue to rise across the state.
- Surprise Mayor Skip Hall said he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was self-quarantined at home for the next week.
- Peoria has developed several programs to provide financial support to small businesses in the West Valley city during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- U.S. Rep. Martha McSally told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show it’s the responsibility of Arizona’s citizens, not the government, to protect each other from coronavirus in a state seeing a sharp rise in cases.
- The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office demanding the release of medically vulnerable jail inmates.
- Amid a statewide surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego hopes Gov. Doug Ducey will issue policy regarding face masks.
- HonorHealth hospitals in Arizona are fighting off the coronavirus with the help of an unusual assistant: a 3-foot-tall germ-zapping robot.
Tuesday, June 16
- Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced an increase of 39 new coronavirus cases among the Navajo Nation and a total death count of 319. While the total number of COVID-19 cases within the Navajo Nation has reached 6,672, approximately 3,277 individuals are reported to have recovered from the virus.
- The Navajo Nation is resuming lockdowns for at least the next two weekends as the number of coronavirus cases off the reservation increases, most notably in Arizona.
- U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad she believes Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s priorities in handling the coronavirus outbreak are misguided.
- U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that Arizona could reach a dire situation without increased restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- The number of reported coronavirus cases in Maricopa County surpassed the 20,000 mark after a single-day high of 1,372 new cases were added to the metro Phoenix total Tuesday.
- A federal detention officer in Arizona who contracted COVID-19 died earlier this week, a facility spokesman said.
- The company behind Chelsea’s Kitchen and La Grande Orange announced that customers at all its restaurants will be required to wear face coverings. LGO said masks must stay in place until guests are seated. Masks can only come off while eating; they must also be worn when diners move about the room and when leaving.
Monday, June 15
- Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced an increase of 22 new coronavirus cases among the Navajo Nation. With no new additional deaths reported, the death count remained at 311. While the total number of COVID-19 cases within the Navajo Nation has reached 6,633, Approximately 3,207 individuals are reported to have recovered from the virus.
- The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has restored a walk-in lottery to hike the Wave after it had been been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Peoria Unified High School District announced it had canceled its graduation ceremonies that were scheduled to occur later this month due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
- The U.S. Treasury Department is withholding $679 million in coronavirus relief funding for tribes while a challenge over its initial round of payments to tribal governments plays out in court.
- The West Valley suburb of Tolleson is offering free COVID-19 testing to around 600 residents and JBS employees on Thursday and Friday.
- The American Red Cross said it is now testing all blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies.
- Following a year in which the park’s economic output exceeded $1 billion, Grand Canyon National Park is bracing for some tough economic reports for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.