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Arizona reports 1,113 new coronavirus cases, 17 additional deaths

(Photo by Maja Hitij/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 Thursday, Oct. 15.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 1,113 new coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths on Thursday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 228,748 COVID-19 infections and 5,789 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Thursday’s report was the first with more than 1,000 cases since Sept. 18 and had the highest death count since Oct. 7.

The state reported back-to-back days of more than 1,000 cases Sept. 17-18, but those totals included a backlog of results from a newly authorized testing process.

Prior to then, the last day over 1,000 cases was Sept. 3, and the last day with more cases than Thursday was Aug. 13 (1,351).

Key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic have dropped dramatically from summertime peaks, but cases and hospitalizations have been trending upward recently.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients rose to 726 on Wednesday, the most since Sept. 3.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased to 173, the most since Sept. 11.

The hospitalization numbers are well below the pandemic highs of 3,517 inpatients and 970 ICU patients, both recorded July 13.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing was at 5% for this week as of Thursday’s update, with 21,158 tests recorded.

The positivity rate, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, was 4% each of the previous six weeks. It 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.

The rolling seven-day average for the state health department’s newly reported cases was at 728.14 through Wednesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, 26% higher than it was one week earlier.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths, however, has been trending lower and was down to 5.57, the lowest mark since early April.

The seven-day averages have fallen well below their peaks of 3,844 cases on July 6 and 94 fatalities on July 30.

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 slowed after those steps were taken. All of Arizona’s counties have since hit benchmarks established by the health department that allow closed 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 Navajo Nation reported 31 new coronavirus cases and no recent deaths, bringing the total numbers to 10,819 infections and 571 deaths.
  • All of Arizona’s counties remained in opening phases after the COVID-19 business and school dashboards were updated, but some metrics indicated potential hot spots.
  • Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will suspend in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for coronavirus.
  • With coronavirus restrictions in place, more veterans that receive care through the Veterans Administration are turning to telehealth services.
  • Maricopa County is providing assistance to families who suffered a financial loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are also coping with the loss of a loved one.
  • Globally, there were more than 38.59 million COVID-19 cases and 1.09 million deaths as of Thursday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 7.92 million cases and 217,000 deaths.

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

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