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Arizona health department reduces total coronavirus death count by 1

Arizona National Guard members assist with COVID-19 testing for White Mountain Apache Tribe members in Arizona. (Technical Sgt. Michael Matkin Photo via Twitter/@AirNatlGuard)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Monday, July 27.

PHOENIX – The Arizona health department reduced the total of documented coronavirus deaths by one on Monday morning while reporting 1,813 new cases.

That brought the state’s documented totals to 163,827 COVID-19 infections and 3,304 fatalities.

The reduced death total reflects the correction of one case “that may have been reported twice, likely by both a lab & healthcare provider,” Arizona Department of Health Services said in a tweet.

According to the Associated Press, the seven-day average for newly reported cases fell to 2,627.14 on Sunday, down by more than 50 from the previous day but up from the July low of 2,539.71 seen Friday. It reached a high point of 3,844 on July 6.

The seven-day average for newly reported deaths was 77.71 on Sunday and has been above 70 since July 17. It peaked at 83 on July 21.

The rate of new Arizona coronavirus cases has shown signs of slowing in recent weeks following the implementation of face mask requirements in many areas — including all of Maricopa County — and statewide executive orders to close businesses such as bars and gyms and to restrict restaurant occupancy.

Those moves were made after the state became a global hot spot for the coronavirus, which 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 virus.

Arizona’s weekly positive rate for diagnostic PCR tests, which indicates how much the virus is spreading, has declined for three consecutive weeks.

For the 30,113 tests given and processed last week, the positive rate is 12%, the lowest since it was 12% for the week starting May 31 but still higher than health officials are hoping to see.

The weekly positive rate was 5% in early May and started climbing after Arizona’s stay-at-home order expired. It peaked at 21% the week starting June 28.

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

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.

The daily reports present cases and deaths after the state receives statistics and confirms them, which can lag by several days or more. They don’t represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.

The hospitalization data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients dropped Sunday to 2,626, the fewest since June 26 and the fifth consecutive day-to-day decline.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also fell to the lowest point in weeks Sunday, dropping by 17 overnight to 820. That was the fewest since July 3.

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

  • 343 were discharged, 69 fewer than the previous day and the lowest since July 2.
  • 1,189 were seen in emergency departments, the third consecutive day-to-day drop and the fewest since June 29.
  • 567 were on ventilators, an overnight drop of 14 and the fewest since July 6. (More than half of the state’s ventilator supply remained unused.)
  • 94 intubations for respiratory distress were performed, 13 more than the previous day and the second consecutive day-to-day increase.

Arizona’s overall inpatient and ICU occupancy rates have been relatively stable in recent weeks at several percentage points below the high marks of the pandemic.

Inpatient beds were 84% full Sunday for the fourth consecutive day, and ICU beds were 86% full for the third straight day.

The inpatient occupancy rate peaked July 9-10 at 88%, and the ICU occupancy rate topped out at 91% on 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 Monday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • Arizona State University President Michael Crow confirmed the university is sticking with its plan to resume the fall semester on Aug. 20.
  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reported an additional 21 COVID-19 cases and two more virus-related deaths among the Navajo Nation.
  • Hundreds of people who had been on paid leave from their jobs with the Navajo Nation’s gambling enterprise won’t be paid after Monday.
  • Through 10 of 12 days, a federally backed COVID-19 testing surge program for underserved areas of Phoenix administered 12,900 of a potential 50,000 tests.
  • President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has tested positive for the coronavirus — making him the highest-ranking official to test positive so far.
  • Maricopa County Public Health, whose daily report can differ from the state’s because of varying data downloading times, documented four new deaths plus 1,178 additional cases. That brought the Phoenix area’s totals to 109,190 infections and 1,734 fatalities.
  • The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government.
  • Arizona’s largest insurer for schools won’t provide liability coverage for claims related to COVID-19, leaving districts worried about potential lawsuits.
  • There were more than 16.2 million coronavirus cases and 649,000 deaths reported globally as of Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S., there were more than 4.2 million cases and 146,000 deaths.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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