Arizona reports no new coronavirus deaths, just 468 more cases

Aug 17, 2020, 8:25 AM | Updated: Aug 18, 2020, 7:54 am

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, Aug. 17.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported no new coronavirus deaths and just 468 more cases on Monday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 194,005 COVID-19 infections and 4,506 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

It was the first daily report since May with fewer than 500 new cases.

Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations, are at or near the lowest they’ve been in a month or more.

The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases ticked up Sunday to 944.86, but it’s still the lowest it’s been since June 6, according to tracking by The Associated Press.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths ticked up to 50.86, near the lowest it’s been in the past month. The figure has been trending downward since peaking at 94 on July 30.

The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been slowing in month-plus since the implementation of face mask requirements by local governments 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 shows how much the virus is spreading, has declined for six consecutive weeks.

For the 47,728 samples taken last week that have been processed and recorded, the positive rate is 6%. If that rate holds up, it would be the lowest since the week starting May 17.

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 and the results are documented by the state.

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 hospital data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals and shows coronavirus-related hospitalizations at their lowest points since early June.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 1,182 on Sunday, the fewest since June 3.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU increased by 13 overnight to 430, the second-fewest since June 11.

COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out at 970 the same day.

Overall, inpatient beds were 82% full on Sunday, 1 point above the previous day. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10.

The ICU occupancy rate was 80% for the second consecutive day. It 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:

  • Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy J. Thomason sided with Gov. Doug Ducey in a ruling which stated the Republican governor did not violate due process by issuing public health benchmarks for counties to meet before fitness centers therein could apply to reopen.
  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 among the Navajo Nation.
  • During the first night of the Democratic National Convention, an Arizona woman blamed President Donald Trump for her father’s coronavirus death earlier this year.
  • J.O. Combs Unified School District, after canceling classes Monday due to a large number of teachers calling out, canceled classes for Tuesday and Wednesday for the same reason.
  • The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has awarded a total of $350,000 to 27 organizations that provide support services to victims of domestic violence, Gov. Doug Ducey announced.
  • Most Arizona schools are weeks away from reopening for in-person instruction, but some students started returning to campuses across the state for mandated support services.
  • There were more than 21.7 million coronavirus cases and 775,000 deaths reported globally as of Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S., there were more than 5.4 million cases and 170,000 deaths.

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Arizona reports no new coronavirus deaths, just 468 more cases