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Arizona reports 921 new coronavirus cases, 18 more deaths

(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Saturday, Oct. 17.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 921 new coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths on Saturday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 230,407 COVID-19 infections and 5,824 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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 757 on Friday, the most since Aug. 30.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also increased slightly to 174; it was a 167 a day earlier, which was 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 Saturday’s update, with 43,384 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 771.71 through Friday, according to tracking by The Associated Press.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths, however, has been trending lower, although it ticked up to 8.57 through Friday.

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.

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.

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