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Arizona reports 2,107 new coronavirus cases, 104 additional deaths

A public service announcement on a traffic sign from the Arizona Department of Transportation reminds motorists of the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Tuesday, July 28.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 2,107 new coronavirus cases and 104 additional deaths on Tuesday morning.

That brought the state’s documented totals to 165,934 COVID-19 infections and 3,408 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

It was only the second time the state reported more than 100 deaths in a day without indicating that the amount included death certificate matching from older cases, following the record of 144 from Saturday morning.

The seven-day average for newly reported deaths reached a pandemic high of 86.83 on Monday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, even though no deaths were added to the total that day.

The seven-day average for newly reported cases was 2,663.43 on Monday, slightly up from the previous day. However, the seven-day new case average has been trending downward since peaking at 3,844 on July 6.

In another sign the state is making progress in the fight against COVID-19, the overall inpatient and ICU occupancy rates in Arizona hospitals, as well as the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized, dropped Monday to their lowest levels in more than a month.

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 40,301 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 backlogs.

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.

Overall, inpatient beds were 81% full Monday, a day-to-day drop of 3 percentage points and the lowest seen since June 15, when it was also 81%. The last time it was lower was 78% on June 8.

The ICU occupancy rate was 84%, a drop of 2 points from the previous day and the lowest since it was 84% on June 22. The last time it was lower was 83% on June 16.

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.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients dropped Monday to 2,564, the fewest since June 24 and the sixth consecutive day-to-day decline.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also fell to the lowest point in weeks Monday, dropping by six overnight to 814. That was the fewest since July 3.

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

  • 305 were discharged, continuing a decline that’s been tracking with the reduced number of patients.
  • 1,158 were seen in emergency departments, the fourth consecutive day-to-day drop and the fewest since June 29.
  • 574 were on ventilators, seven more than the previous day but the second fewest since July 7. (More than half of the state’s ventilator supply remained unused.)
  • 92 intubations for respiratory distress were performed, two fewer than the previous day after two days of increases.

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

  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reported an additional 15 COVID-19 cases and 5 more virus-related deaths among the Navajo Nation.
  • President Donald Trump issued a stout defense Tuesday of a disproved use of a malaria drug as a treatment for the coronavirus, hours after social media companies moved to take down videos promoting its use as potentially harmful misinformation.
  • The chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party and Donald Trump Jr. were among those whose Twitter accounts were limited Tuesday for spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19.
  • A task force will give long-term care facilities recommendations on when visitations can be resumed and how family members outside can keep in contact.
  • The differences over the next coronavirus aid package are vast: Democrats propose $3 trillion in relief and Republicans have a $1 trillion counteroffer. At stake are millions of Americans’ jobless benefits, school reopenings and eviction protections.
  • There were more than 16.5 million coronavirus cases and 654,000 deaths reported globally as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S., there were more than 4.2 million cases and 148,000 deaths.

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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