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Arizona reports 4,123 new coronavirus cases, 19 additional deaths

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This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Thursday, Nov. 19.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities on Thursday reported 4,123 new coronavirus cases with 19 additional deaths.

It was the first daily report of more than 4,000 cases since 4,273 cases were documented on July 14.

That put the state’s documented totals at 287,225 COVID-19 infections and 6,384 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Key pandemic metrics have been rising in Arizona at a rate not seen since the first wave hit in June and July. Cases have been surging since the beginning of October.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients increased overnight to 1,796 on Wednesday. That’s 96% higher than Nov. 1, when it was 918, and the most since Aug. 5.

The number of COVID-19 inpatients peaked July 13 at 3,517 and fell afterward as low as 468 on Sept. 27.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased to 433 on Wednesday, 87% above the Nov. 1 mark of 231 and the most since Aug. 14.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds peaked July 13 at 970 and fell afterward as low as 114 on Sept. 22.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, has reached its highest level in four months.

The positivity rate was 12% for the 21,941 tests completed from this week, the highest since it was 12% for the week starting July 19.

The weekly rate, which was 11% last week, peaked at 20% at the end of June and was down to 4% as recently as early October.

Official positivity 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 2,562.71 for Wednesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press. That’s 93% higher than the Nov. 1 mark of 1,330 and the highest average since July 27.

The seven-day case average peaked July 6 at 3,844 and fell afterward as low as 373.14 on Sept. 12.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths has been bucking the recent trends and was at 19.57 on Wednesday, increasing for just the second time in 10 days.

The seven-day death average peaked July 30 at 94 and fell afterward as low as 5.57 on Oct. 14.

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.

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.

Information about testing locations can be found on the Arizona Department of Health Services website.

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

  • The Navajo Nation reported 167 new coronavirus cases and five additional deaths, bringing the documented totals to 14,085 infections and 618 fatalities.
  • U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona announced she tested negative for COVID-19 but will continue to quarantine. Lesko started quarantining earlier this week after being in contact with a person who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • The Arizona Interscholastic Association announced it would postpone the start of winter sports until Jan. 5 with rising coronavirus cases in the state.
  • Glendale Union High School District, which is home to 10 high schools, will return to remote learning on Friday, citing two consecutive weeks of coronavirus case metrics in the substantial spread range.
  • Arizona state Rep. Arlando Teller announced that he is isolating and recovering at home in Chinle after testing positive for COVID-19. He said he got tested after experiencing mild symptoms.
  • Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said her concern level about the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings on COVID-19 spread “is at a 9” out of 10.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services issued an emergency order to increase enforcement of face mask requirements in K-12 schools.
  • Globally, there were more than 56.42 million COVID-19 cases and 1.35 million deaths as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 11.54 million cases and 250,000 deaths.

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