Arizona reports 2,742 new coronavirus cases, 147 more deaths

Jul 18, 2020, 8:34 AM | Updated: 6:47 pm
(Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sergio Flores/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 Saturday, July 18.

PHOENIX – The Arizona health department reported a daily high of 147 new coronavirus deaths plus 2,742 additional cases on Saturday morning.

That brought the state’s totals to 141,265 COVID-19 cases and 2,730 fatalities.

According to the state health department, a lab partner did not make the reporting cutoff for Saturday’s update. It will be reflected in Sunday’s totals.

Of the 147 deaths, 106 were reported due to death certificate matching, the department said.

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 don’t represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.

New COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Arizona 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 without symptoms – which include but are not limited to cough, fever and difficulty breathing — are capable of spreading the coronavirus.

Face coverings can help prevent the virus’ spread, health experts say, and are required in public throughout the Phoenix area and many other Arizona communities when social distancing isn’t possible.

Arizona’s weekly positive rate for PCR tests, which diagnose active coronavirus infections, had been steadily rising since early May, when it was 5%, but is showing signs of leveling off. The positive rate for last week’s completed tests is 17%, which, if it holds up, would be the first weekly decline in 10 weeks. It reached a high point of 21% the previous week.

Weekly rates are based on when the samples are taken, not when they are reported, so the rates for recent weeks can fluctuate as labs get caught up on testing.

The positive rate for the 20,286 tests given this week that were processed as of Saturday’s report was 18%.

There have been more than 771,000 PCR tests completed in Arizona since the start of the pandemic, including 7,836  added to the reported total Saturday, with a positive rate of 14.5%. The positive rate was at 14.3% Thursday, 12% on the last day of June and 6.7% on the last day of May.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in Arizona’s hospitals decreased overnight by 228 to 3,238 on Friday.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also decreased, going down by 50 to 894.

According to hospital data for Friday, 47.8% of all Arizona inpatients and 59.3% of the state’s ICU patients are confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

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

  • 477 were discharged, 23 fewer than the previous day.
  • 1,504 were seen in emergency departments, 70 fewer than the previous day and the eighth day-to-day drop in the past nine days.
  • 657 were on ventilators, 30 less than the previous day.
  • 104 intubations for respiratory distress were performed, the same as the previous day.

Overall ventilator use reached 979 on Saturday, representing 51% of the state’s total. The number is down from a pandemic high of 1,030 the previous day. Just over two-thirds of the patients on the breathing machines are confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

Arizona’s overall inpatient and ICU occupancy rates have been high but stable in recent reports, and Friday was no different.

Inpatient beds were 86% full, down a percentage point from the previous three days, and have been at least 85% full each of the past 10 days, peaking at 88% on July 10.

ICU beds were 89% full, 1 percentage point lower than the previous day. The ICU occupancy rate has been at least 88% each day since June 30, with a high of 91% reported July 7.

Hospital bed data on the health department website does not include surge beds that have not been activated but can potentially increase capacity.

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

  • The Navajo Nation reported 32 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths. The death toll has reached 415, while 8,568 cases have been reported. A total of 6,345 individuals have recovered from the virus.

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Arizona reports 2,742 new coronavirus cases, 147 more deaths