Arizona reports 2,359 new coronavirus cases, 31 more deaths

Jul 19, 2020, 8:26 AM | Updated: 5:05 pm
(Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)
(Photo by Go Nakamura/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 Sunday, July 19.

PHOENIX – The Arizona health department reported 2,359 coronavirus new cases and 31 deaths on Sunday morning.

That brought the state’s totals to 143,624 COVID-19 cases and 2,761 fatalities.

According to the state health department, some of the numbers reflect Saturday’s report after a lab partner did not make the reporting cutoff for the update.

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 30,593 tests given this week that were processed as of Saturday’s report was 17%.

There have been more than 785,000 PCR tests completed in Arizona since the start of the pandemic, including 13,988 added to the reported total Sunday, 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 102 to 3,136 on Saturday.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds remained the same as a day prior with 895.

According to hospital data for Friday, 46% of all Arizona inpatients and 60% of the state’s ICU patients are confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

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

  • 488 were discharged, 11 more than the previous day.
  • 1,466 were seen in emergency departments, 43 fewer than the previous day and the ninth day-to-day drop in the past 10 days.
  • 622 were on ventilators, 35 less than the previous day.
  • 89 intubations for respiratory distress were performed, 15 fewer than the previous day.

Overall ventilator use reached 951 on Saturday, representing 49% of the state’s total. The number is down from a pandemic high of 1,030 on Thursday. Just under 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 Saturday was no different.

Inpatient beds were 86% full, the same as a day prior, and have been at least 85% full each of the past 10 days, peaking at 88% on July 10.

ICU beds were 88% 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.

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Arizona reports 2,359 new coronavirus cases, 31 more deaths