Gov. Ducey says bump in Arizona COVID-19 numbers isn’t unexpected

Oct 9, 2020, 2:00 PM | Updated: 3:09 pm

PHOENIX – Coronavirus case and hospitalization numbers have been creeping higher in Arizona, but Gov. Doug Ducey said it’s not unexpected or reason for policy changes.

“As good as the news has been for the last 13 weeks, the expectation should be that case are going to rise,” Ducey told reporters Thursday.

While trending upward, the hospital and case numbers are still just a fraction of what the state was seeing at the peak of the pandemic in June and July. And the death count has slowed, with the rolling seven-day average of newly reported fatalities falling below 10 on Thursday for the first time since May 1.

However, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,685 new COVID-19 cases from Sunday to Friday, a 25% increase over the same time period the previous week.

The department reported more than 800 cases in a day twice this week. In the past month, that level had been reached only twice — after a backlog of cases from a newly authorized testing process was added to the totals Sept. 17 and 18.

The rolling seven-day average for the state’s daily case report was 598.43 through Thursday, the highest since Sept. 24.

On Wednesday, the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients in Arizona’s hospitals reached its highest point since Sept. 3 at 728. It dropped to 706 on Thursday, still 50% higher than recorded Sept. 27.

The number of Arizona COVID-19 cases needing ICU treatment also has been edging higher. It hit 156 on Wednesday, the most since Sept. 13, after rising for eight consecutive days. The number fell by one to 155 on Thursday.

“If we continue to do the mitigation steps — wearing a mask, being socially distanced, washing our hands — we should be able to navigate through this,” Ducey said.

He also made it clear there’s no reason to consider shutting down businesses or schools again.

“You should expect them to remain open,” he said. “We’re not going to make any dramatic changes because of a gradual rise in cases.”

The state health department reported 683 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths on Friday, putting the state’s totals at 224,084 COVID-19 infections and 5,746 fatalities.

The 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.

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.

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Gov. Ducey says bump in Arizona COVID-19 numbers isn’t unexpected