Arizona reports 2,339 new coronavirus cases, 46 more deaths
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Wednesday, July 29.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 2,339 new coronavirus cases and 46 additional deaths on Wednesday morning.
That brought the state’s documented totals to 168,273 COVID-19 infections and 3,454 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The seven-day average for newly reported cases was 2,464.43 on Tuesday, the lowest since June 21, according to tracking by The Associated Press. The seven-day new case average has been trending downward since peaking at 3,844 on July 6.
The seven-day average for newly reported deaths was 81.83 on Tuesday, dipping from the pandemic high of 86.83 from a day earlier.
The rate of new Arizona coronavirus cases has shown signs of slowing in the weeks after 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 been falling in recent weeks.
For the 42,528 tests given and processed last week, the positive rate is 12%, the third consecutive weekly decline and the lowest since it was 12% for the week starting May 31.
The positive rate was also 12% so far this week, but only 4,642 tests given since Sunday have been reported by labs as completed. 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 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.
The Arizona health department’s daily reports present case, death and testing data 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 Tuesday to 2,424, the fewest since June 23 and the seventh consecutive day-to-day decline.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also fell to the lowest point in weeks, dropping by 14 overnight to 800. That was the fewest since July 3.
In other notable hospital data from Tuesday related to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients:
- 368 were discharged, the most since Saturday.
- 1,225 were seen in emergency departments, up 67 from the previous day to end a four-day streak of daily declines.
- 561 were on ventilators, the fewest since July 6. (More than half of the state’s ventilator supply remained unused.)
- 87 intubations for respiratory distress were performed, decreasing for the second consecutive day.
Overall, Arizona inpatient and ICU bed usage increased Tuesday after dropping to the lowest levels in over a month the previous day.
Inpatient beds were 83% full Tuesday, up from 81% a day earlier, which was the lowest seen since June 15.
The ICU occupancy rate was 85%, up from 84% a day earlier, which was the lowest seen since June 22.
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 Wednesday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
- President Donald Trump dismissed Democratic demands to include aid for cash-strapped cities in a new coronavirus relief package and he lashed out at Republicans, saying they should “go back to school” if they reject money for a new FBI headquarters in the nation’s capital.
- The Arizona Public Health Association sent an open letter to Gov. Doug Ducey and state health director Dr. Cara Christ recommending several steps to better fight COVID-19.
- U.S. officials say Russian intelligence officers are spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic through English-language websites.
- The city of Phoenix is being sued over claims it is wrongly restricting some immigrants from accessing funds via the federal coronavirus relief bill.
- There were more than 16.7 million coronavirus cases and 661,000 deaths reported globally as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S., there were more than 4.3 million cases and 149,000 deaths.