Arizona surpasses 5,000 coronavirus deaths, reports 629 new cases
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Saturday, Aug. 29.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 629 new coronavirus cases and 29 more deaths on Saturday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 201,287 COVID-19 infections and 5,007 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic are at or near the lowest they’ve been in a month or more, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases declined Friday to 537, the lowest seen since June 1, according to tracking by The Associated Press.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths slightly rose to 41.43.
The seven-day average for new cases peaked July 6 at 3,844, and the stat for deaths reached a high of 94 on July 30.
The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been slowing in the 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 certain businesses and 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 COVID-19 diagnostic tests, which shows how much the virus is spreading, had declined for seven consecutive weeks but may be leveling off.
For the 31,283 samples taken since Sunday that have been processed and recorded, the positive rate is 5%, the same as last week.
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 or near their lowest points in several months.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients slightly rose to 812 from 809 the previous day.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds dropped to 262, the fewest since it was 248 on April 9.
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 73% full on Friday, but only 10% of beds were taken by COVID patients.
The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10, when more than 40% of beds were filled with COVID patients.
The ICU occupancy rate was 63% on Friday with 16% in use by COVID patients.
ICU occupancy rate topped out at 91% on July 7, when more than half of the state’s ICU beds were filled with COVID patients.
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 Saturday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
- Arizona State University reported Friday 480 COVID-19 cases among students, faculty and staff as the school looks to provide continuous updates about case totals.
- Bus service at Grand Canyon National Park is set to resume next weekend after being shuttered for more than five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.