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Arizona hospital data, with record COVID-19 patients, not affected by error

The emergency room entrance at Valleywise Health Center hospital is shown Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – A reporting glitch from the Arizona health department Monday didn’t impact the fact that more coronavirus patients are in the state’s hospitals than ever before.

There were 2,721 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized Sunday, according to data reported by the Arizona Department of Health Services on Monday.

That topped the previous high of 2,691 from the previous day and continued an upward trend that has seen the number double since June 11.

The state health department 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.

Before posting Monday’s update, the department tweeted that a lab partner missed a reporting deadline, resulting in incomplete daily case and test data.

Monday’s incomplete report showed just 625 new coronavirus cases and no additional deaths, putting the state’s documented totals at 74,533 cases and 1,588 fatalities. That came after four consecutive days with daily reports of at least 3,000 new cases.

However, a department spokesman told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the reporting issue didn’t affect the accuracy of hospitalization and bed capacity numbers, as well as the report of zero new deaths.

COVID-19 hospitalizations aren’t the only data point at or near a pandemic-high mark in Arizona.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased overnight by 13 to 679 on Sunday, a high mark.

The percentage of overall ICU bed usage was at 88%, matching the high mark first reached last week. The latest data showed the state with 211 unused ICU beds.

Overall ICU bed usage was at 84%, down a notch from the high point of 86% last seen Friday.

There were 465 coronavirus patients on ventilators Sunday, a drop from the high mark of 475 a day earlier and the second-highest total recorded.

The level of COVID-19 hospitalizations has climbed even as the number of discharged patients has reached high marks in recent days. There were 253 discharges reported Sunday, the third-highest mark ever, although a dip from the record 270 seen Friday.

Arizona’s documented coronavirus cases have been rising at a faster rate than testing has increased for weeks, prompting officials to implement new policies regarding face coverings and restaurant operations.

Gov. Doug Ducey sounded a warning last week in response to surging COVID-19 numbers, urging Arizonans to take more steps to reduce the spread the virus such as staying home except when necessary and wearing face masks in public.

State leaders have maintained that hospitals have the room to handle the rising number of coronavirus patients, although some hospitals have activated surge plans in response to dwindling capacity.

The capacity data on the health department’s website doesn’t include surge beds on the ready for emergency use.

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

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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