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Arizona reports 742 new coronavirus cases, three more deaths

Dr. Tom Dean poses at his clinic in Wessington Springs, S.D., on Friday. Oct. 16, 2020. Dean is one of three doctors in the county, which has seen one of the nation's highest rates of coronavirus cases per person. He writes a column in the local newspaper, the True Dakotan, urging people to take precautions against the virus.(AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Sunday, Oct. 18.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 742 new coronavirus cases and three additional deaths on Sunday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 231,149 COVID-19 infections and 5,827 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 dropped to 714 on Sunday, after hitting a monthly high of 757 on Saturday.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds also increased slightly to 176; it was a 174 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 Sunday’s update, with 55,102 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 775.57 through Saturday, 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 9.29 through Saturday.

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 Sunday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • The Navajo Nation reported 42 new coronavirus cases and one additional death Sunday, bringing the total numbers to 10,955 infections and 573 fatalities.
  • More than 200 families with students at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale have been instructed to quarantine following the school’s coronavirus outbreak, according to officials.

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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