Arizona reports just 81 new coronavirus cases, 2 more deaths

Sep 8, 2020, 8:28 AM | Updated: 6:10 pm

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, Sept. 8.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported just 81 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, the fewest in a day in more than five months.

It was the lowest daily case report since March 25, when it was 76, and the first time under 100 since April 10, when it was 94.

That put the state’s documented totals at 206,045 COVID-19 infections, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Two more deaths were reported Tuesday, moving the fatality total to 5,221.

Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic are at or near the lowest they’ve been in months. COVID-related hospitalizations are down near levels last seen when the state started reporting that data in April.

The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases was 586.86 on Monday, according to tracking by The Associated Press. That metric has ticked up in the past week but remains near the lowest it’s been since early June.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was 32, among the lowest marks since late June.

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 months 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.

Much of the state has hit benchmarks established by the state health department that allow certain businesses to reopen under capacity restrictions and other regulations.

Arizona’s weekly positive rate for COVID-19 diagnostic tests has settled in at 4% over the last three weeks, the lowest since the early days of the pandemic in March. It had been as high as 20% 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 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 near their lowest points since the health department started reporting them in April.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients dipped to 657 on Monday, the fewest since April 26.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds dropped to 212, the fewest since it was 155 on April 8, the first day AZDHS reported COVID hospitalizations.

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 79% full on Monday, 1% lower than the previous day. Only 8% 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 76% on Monday, 2 percent lower than the previous day. COVID patients took up just 13% of the ICU beds, the lowest percentage since April 8.

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

  • The Navajo Nation reported zero new coronavirus cases and four additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the totals to 9,903 infections and 527 fatalities.
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order Tuesday that will extend the reporting requirements for health care facilities as the state prepares for flu season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Old Tucson, the Western-themed venue and filming location situated in Tucson Mountain Park, will close indefinitely due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Cave Creek Cactus Shadow High School intends to open for in-person learning Wednesday, a day after being unable to because of staff shortages.
  • Globally, there were more than 27.3 million COVID-19 cases and 893,000 deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 6.3 million cases and 189,000 deaths.

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Arizona reports just 81 new coronavirus cases, 2 more deaths