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Arizona reports 695 new coronavirus cases, 27 additional deaths

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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, Sept. 16.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 695 new coronavirus cases and 27 additional deaths on Wednesday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 209,907 COVID-19 infections and 5,371 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The number of new cases reported was the most in one day since Sept. 5, when it was 836.

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

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients dipped to 538 on Tuesday, remaining near levels seen back in April in the early days of the pandemic.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds dropped to 135, the fewest ever recorded by AZDHS, which started posting the data April 8.

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 83% full on Tuesday, 3 points higher than the previous day. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10.

The ICU occupancy rate was 78% for the second consecutive day. 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.

Arizona’s weekly positive rate for COVID-19 diagnostic tests has been at 4% for each of the past four weeks, but it’s ticked up to 5% for the 4,944 tests taken and processed this week.

The positive rate had been as high as 20% at the end of June.

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.

As cases skyrocketed in June, local governments in many parts of Arizona — including all of Maricopa County — implemented face mask requirements, and Gov. Doug Ducey issued statewide executive orders to close certain businesses and restrict restaurant occupancy.

The spread of COVID-19 soon slowed and has been steadily falling since the peak of the pandemic. Much of the state has hit benchmarks established by the health department that allow certain businesses to reopen under capacity restrictions and other regulations.

The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases was 452 on Tuesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, near the lowest mark since late May.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was down to 17.57, also in the range seen in late May.

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.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, 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.

Below are Wednesday latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • Three people at Red Mountain High School in Mesa have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a letter sent to parents Wednesday.
  • At least 11 people infected with COVID-19 traveled to Arizona and passed the disease to others, seeding the state’s earliest outbreaks, according to new research.
  • Tucson-area health officials are recommending residents skip most traditional Halloween activities this year to limit the spread of coronavirus.
  • Globally, there were more than 29.6 million COVID-19 cases and 936,000 deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 6.6 million cases and 196,000 deaths.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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