Arizona reports 566 new coronavirus cases, 34 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 Thursday, Sept. 24.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 566 new coronavirus cases and 34 more deaths on Thursday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 215,852 COVID-19 infections and 5,559 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
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.
After rising for two days, the number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell by 18 overnight to 565 on Wednesday.
A day after hitting a record low, the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased by eight overnight to 122.
COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out at 970 the same day.
Arizona’s weekly positive rate for COVID-19 diagnostic testing is on pace to be at 4% for the fourth consecutive week, with 18,412 tests completed 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 hospitalization data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.
After creeping up following last week’s addition of a recently authorized diagnostic testing process, the rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases fell to 768.14 through Wednesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, well below the July 6 peak of 3,844.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was steady at 22, well below the July 30 peak of 94.
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.
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 Thursday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
- The Phoenix area is slowly inching toward a wider phase of business reopening, but it remains at least two weeks from that milestone — and probably longer.
- Three more Arizona counties moved into the safe range for the recommended hybrid learning level, per the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 benchmarks for schools.
- Banner Health is pushing back against the idea of mask mandates being lifted in the Arizona.
- Globally, there were more than 31.9 million COVID-19 cases and 977,000 deaths as of Thursday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 6.9 million cases and 201,000 deaths.
- As Arizona school nurses work to implement coronavirus mitigation efforts on campuses, they often face challenges such as lack of support or resources.
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.