Arizona reports 5,442 new coronavirus cases, 82 additional deaths
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Dec. 3, 2020.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities on Thursday reported 5,442 new coronavirus cases, the second most ever, with 82 additional deaths.
That put the state’s documented totals at 346,421 COVID-19 infections and 6,821 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Thursday’s case number was the first above 5,000 outside of Tuesday’s report, which was inflated by a backup of data from the holiday weekend. The new death report was the highest since Aug. 26, although the department said 46 were from death certificate matching.
Overall, key pandemic metrics have been rising in Arizona at rates not seen since the first wave hit in June and July. Cases have been surging since the beginning of October deaths are at their highest level in three months.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients was 2,743 on Wednesday, a 20% increase in the last week and the most since July 24.
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 was 642 for the second straight day on Wednesday, a 23% increase in the last week and the most since Aug. 1.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds peaked July 13 at 970 and fell afterward as low as 114 on Sept. 22.
Statewide, 32% of all inpatient beds and 37% of all ICU beds were filled with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients on Wednesday, levels last seen in late July and early August. Overall, inpatient beds were 90% filled and ICU beds were 90% filled.
The 901 unused inpatient beds was the lowest remaining amount of the pandemic.
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 nearly five months.
The positivity rate is 17% for the 31,051 tests reported so far this week, which would be the highest since it was 19% for the week starting July 5.
The positivity rate, which was 15% for 133,442 tests reported last week, peaked at 21% 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 health department’s newly reported cases dipped slightly to 4,304.14 for Wednesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, about 20 below the record set the previous day.
The seven-day case average had fallen after the summer wave as low as 373.14 on Sept. 12.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths had been relatively stable compared to the case counts, but it surged to 30.71 for Wednesday, the highest mark since Sept 9.
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 236 new coronavirus cases and five additional deaths, bringing the documented totals to 17,310 infections and 663 fatalities.
- Mesa Public Schools, Arizona’s largest public school system, will pivot to online learning for the first two weeks of the spring semester.
- The president of the Arizona Restaurant Association is hoping an influx of capital from the state to expand outdoor dining spaces will make a difference to his industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Three Arizona counties are just one week from potentially hitting the COVID-19 benchmarks that could require certain businesses to close again.
- Some Phoenix firefighters are expected to work shifts of up to 72 consecutive hours because of staffing shortages caused by COVID-19.
- Globally, there were more than 64.68 million COVID-19 cases and 1.49 million deaths as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 13.93 million cases and 273,000 deaths.