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Arizona reports record 12,314 new coronavirus cases, 23 more deaths

(KTAR News Photo)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Dec. 8, 2020.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities on Tuesday reported a record 12,314 new coronavirus cases with 23 additional deaths.

The previous daily record was 10,322 cases reported last Tuesday. Officials said that was in part due to getting caught up on delayed Thanksgiving weekend test results. No such disclaimer was issued with the new report.

The state’s documented totals increased to 378,157 COVID-19 infections and 6,973 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Overall, multiple COVID-19 metrics in Arizona are at or approaching the highest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients was 3,157 on Monday. That’s a 37% increase since Thanksgiving, when it was 2,301, and the most since July 17.

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 Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in ICU beds was 744 on Monday. That’s a 40% increase since Thanksgiving, when it was 532, and the most since July 29.

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, 36% of all inpatient beds and 43% of all ICU beds were filled with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients on Monday, levels last seen in July.

Overall, inpatient beds were 88% filled and ICU beds were 90% filled. A reduction in the number of non-COVID hospitalizations freed up beds from Sunday’s record-high levels.

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.

As of Tuesday, the positivity rate was 18% for the 147,994 tests reported from last week, which would be the highest since it was 19% for the week starting July 5.

The positivity rate 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 was at 5,575.14 for Monday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, setting a record for the fifth consecutive day.

During the first wave of the pandemic in Arizona, when testing was less available than it is now, the seven-day case average got as high as 3,844 on July 6 and afterward fell 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 has been surging recently. It was at 44.43 for Monday, a 69% increase since Thanksgiving and the second-highest mark since Aug. 18.

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

  • A top Arizona health official said Tuesday that Arizona will continue to see an exponential rise in cases until stricter action is taken to mitigate the spread of the virus.
  • The Navajo Nation reported 159 new coronavirus cases and six additional deaths, bringing the documented totals to 18,324 infections and 688 fatalities.
  • With the first coronavirus vaccine doses expected in the next week, HonorHealth in Scottsdale is conducting run throughs to ensure they are ready.
  • A nurse rolled up 90-year-old Margaret Keenan’s sleeve and administered a shot watched round the world — the first jab in the U.K.’s COVID-19 vaccination program kicking off an unprecedented global effort to try to end a pandemic that has killed 1.5 million people.
  • A recent White House Coronavirus Task Force report suggests that Arizona isn’t doing enough to suppress the spread of COVID-19.
  • U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton of Arizona told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News the state should be denied federal coronavirus relief funding if it remained without an overall mask mandate.
  • Documents released by U.S. regulators confirmed that Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was strongly protective against COVID-19.
  • Maricopa County Superior Court is suspending civil jury trials through February and limiting the number of criminal jury trials as a means to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Maricopa County presented its plan for getting coronavirus vaccines to top priority people, including skilled nursing patients and staffs.
  • The city of Phoenix is coordinating with Maricopa County officials on vaccine delivery, but not the governor’s office, Mayor Kate Gallego said.
  • Globally, there were about 67.76 million COVID-19 cases and 1.55 million deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 14.96 million cases and 284,000 deaths.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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