With 75 new fatalities, Arizona’s COVID-19 death count passes 2,000

Jul 9, 2020, 8:23 AM | Updated: 7:18 pm
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Thursday, July 9.

PHOENIX – The Arizona health department reported 75 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday morning, pushing the state’s fatality count above 2,000.

The department also reported 4,057 new COVID-19 cases. The state’s totals are now 112,671 cases and 2,038 deaths.

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 confirms them, which can lag by several days. They aren’t meant to represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.

New cases have been increasing at a faster rate than testing has been increasing, indicating community spread of a virus that has no impact on some people and is seriously debilitating or fatal for others. Infected people who don’t show symptoms are still capable of spreading the coronavirus.

Face coverings can help prevent the virus’ spread and are required in public throughout the Phoenix area where social distancing isn’t possible.

Arizona’s weekly positive rate for PCR tests, which diagnose active coronavirus infections, has risen every week since early May, when it was 5%. For the PCR tests given last week that have been processed, the positive rate was up to 22%. The reported PCR positive rate so far this week is 23%.

There have been more than 652,000 PCR tests given in Arizona, including 11,931 added to the total Thursday. Of the tests processed, the positive rate was up to 13.9%. It was 13.7% on Wednesday, 12% on June 30, and 6.7% on May 31.

The overall number of hospitalizations and the percentage of inpatient beds filled in Arizona reached pandemic highs on Wednesday, according to the latest state report. Bed use climbed to 87% with 6,899 inpatients, an increase of more than 100 over the previous high reached a day earlier.

A pandemic-high 3,437 of the inpatients were confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, 49.8% of the total.

However, the total caseload in Arizona’s intensive care units dipped Wednesday from pandemic-high levels seen a day earlier. After reaching 91% capacity on Tuesday with just 145 beds available, ICU beds were 89% filled Wednesday with 181 open.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds, which set a record Tuesday, fell by 10 overnight to 861 — 57.5% of all ICU patients.

In other notable hospital data from Wednesday related to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients:

  • 538 were discharged, slightly behind the record high of 543 seen a day earlier.
  • 1,980 were seen in emergency departments, one day after a record 2,008 were seen.
  • 575 were on ventilators, an increase of five from the previous day, which had been the highest number seen.
  • 107 intubations for respiratory distress were performed, 14 fewer than the record total from a day earlier.

Below are Thursday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced an additional 61 coronavirus cases and four more deaths among the Navajo Nation.
  • Five Arizona mayors issued a joint statement with their wish list of state policies to combat the spread of COVID-19 less than an hour before Gov. Doug Ducey revealed limited policy changes during a press conference.
  • Gov. Doug Ducey announced a partnership with Sonora Quest Laboratories that will provide the processing of up to 35,000 tests per day by the end of July and 60,000 per day by the end of August.
  • Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order limiting restaurant dine-in capacity to 50%.
  • More than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a historically high pace that shows that many employers are still laying people off during the pandemic.
  • Those who protect the public are now asking the state of Arizona to protect them after an alarming amount of first responders have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • The pivot to distance learning in the spring when Arizona schools closed due to the coronavirus happened so quickly that many teachers struggled to adjust, a new survey found.

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With 75 new fatalities, Arizona’s COVID-19 death count passes 2,000