Arizona reports 3,212 new coronavirus cases, 68 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 Friday, July 31.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 3,212 new coronavirus cases and 68 additional deaths on Friday morning.
That brought the state’s documented totals to 174,010 COVID-19 infections and 3,694 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
While several key indicators about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic have been declining in recent weeks – including new cases, positive test rates and coronavirus-related hospitalizations — deaths have been trending upward.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths reached a record high of 94 on Thursday, when a record 172 new deaths (including 78 from death certificate matching) were reported by the state health department, according to tracking by The Associated Press.
The seven-day average for newly reported cases was 2,550.57 on Thursday, up slightly from the previous day but significantly down from the peak of 3,844 on July 6.
The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been 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, is on pace to fall for the fourth consecutive week.
The positive rate is 11% so far this week, but only 16,014 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.
For the 56,513 tests given and processed last week, the positive rate is 12%, the lowest since it was also 12% for the week starting May 31.
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 Thursday to 2,302, the fewest since June 23 and the ninth consecutive day-to-day decline.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also fell to the lowest point of the month, dropping by 39 overnight to 719. That was the fewest since June 30.
The number of COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out 970 the same day.
Overall, Arizona inpatient and ICU bed usage continued to hover several percentage points below pandemic high points seen in early July.
Inpatient beds were 84% full Thursday, up 1 point from the previous day. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked July 9-10 at 88%.
The ICU occupancy rate was 86% Thursday for the second consecutive day. 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 Friday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
- U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News that Congress allowing the extra federal unemployment benefits to run would be “disgraceful.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci said he remains confident that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by early next year, telling lawmakers that a quarter-million Americans already have volunteered to take part in clinical trials.
- In-person ballot casting, including in Arizona, is now on the vulnerable shoulders of dedicated, older election workers who are at high risk of illness or death if they contract COVID-19.
- There were more than 17.3 million coronavirus cases and 673,000 deaths reported globally as of Friday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S., there were nearly 4.5 million cases and more than 152,000 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.