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Arizona reports 748 new coronavirus cases, 3 additional 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 Monday, Oct. 19.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 748 new coronavirus cases and three additional deaths on Monday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 231,897 COVID-19 infections and 5,830 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 this month.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients rose to 721 on Sunday, 23% higher than Oct. 1.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased to 177, the most since Sept. 11 and 41.6% higher than Oct. 1.

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 last week as of Monday’s update, with 64,904 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 796.29 through Sunday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, 65.9% higher than Oct. 1.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths has been rising in recent days after hitting lows not seen since early April. It was up to 9.71 through Sunday, the highest since Oct. 9.

The seven-day averages remain 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 Monday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • The Navajo Nation reported 14 new coronavirus cases and one additional death, bringing the documented totals to 10,969 infections and 574 fatalities.
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Monday that $715,000 from the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund would be allocated to 19 organizations in the state to support families in need.
  • Washington, D.C., added eight additional states, including Arizona, to its list of high-risk states that require a 14-day quarantine when visiting the nation’s capital.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services closed down Dirty’s Topless Sports Bar & Grill in Phoenix for violating COVID-19 regulations.
  • Globally, there were more than 40.12 million COVID-19 cases and 1.11 million deaths as of Monday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 8.15 million cases and 219,000 deaths.

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