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Arizona reports 1,040 new coronavirus cases, 7 more deaths

A jar holds tubes containing throat swab samples from people seeking a test for Covid-19 infection at a testing station in Reinickendorf district during the coronavirus pandemic on October 20, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/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 Tuesday, Oct. 20.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 1,040 new coronavirus cases and seven additional deaths on Tuesday morning.

It was just the second daily report with more than 1,000 new cases since mid-September.

That put the state’s documented totals at 232,937 COVID-19 infections and 5,837 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 777 on Monday, 32.6% higher than Oct. 1, when it was 586.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds dipped to 170, seven fewer than the previous day but 36% higher than Oct. 1, when it was 125.

The hospitalizations remain far under 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 6% for last week as of Tuesday’s update, with 71,049 tests recorded. It hasn’t been that high since the week starting Aug. 2.

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 rolling seven-day average for the state health department’s newly reported cases was at 835.29 for Monday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, 74% higher than the average of 480 on 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 10.41 for Monday, the highest since Oct. 7.

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

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 is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.

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

  • The Navajo Nation reported 30 new coronavirus cases and no recent deaths, bringing the documented totals to 10,999 infections and 574 deaths.
  • Arizona State University Biodesign Institute Director Dr. Joshua LaBaer is urging Arizonans to avoid large group gatherings and to continue strict mask wearing to slow the second surge of coronavirus in the state.
  • A Valley doctor worries the two rallies President Donald Trump held in Arizona on Monday could be “super spreader events” for the coronavirus.
  • A new study by researchers at the University of Arizona shows those who recover from COVID-19 could have long-term immunity.
  • The Glendale City Council approved a program that will provide rent assistance to tenants and landlords affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Globally, there were more than 40.48 million COVID-19 cases and 1.11 million deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 8.21 million cases and 220,000 deaths.

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