Arizona reports 5,854 new coronavirus cases, 35 more deaths

Dec 13, 2020, 8:40 AM | Updated: 5:58 pm
Registered nurse Laura Moore, left, swabs a patient during testing for COVID-19 organized by Philad...

Registered nurse Laura Moore, left, swabs a patient during testing for COVID-19 organized by Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers at Mifflin Square Park, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in south Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Dec. 13, 2020.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities on Sunday reported 5,854 new coronavirus cases with 35 additional deaths.

The state’s documented totals increased to 408,442 COVID-19 infections and 7,357 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 3,622 on Saturday. That’s a 57% increase since Thanksgiving, when it was 2,301, and the most in a single day, surpassing Friday’s 3,534 inpatients and the 3,517 on July 13.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in ICU beds was 831 on Saturday. That’s a 56% increase since Thanksgiving, when it was 532, and the most since July 25.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds peaked July 13 at 970.

Statewide, 42% of all inpatient beds and 48% of all ICU beds were filled with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients on Sunday, levels last seen in July.

Overall, inpatient were 91% filled and ICU beds were 92% filled. These last three days are the first time during the pandemic that less than 10% of the state’s inpatient beds, just 744, remained available.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, reached its highest level in nearly five months on Dec. 6 at 18% for 158,596 tests.

The positivity rate was 17% for the 121,110 tests recorded last week.

The 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 rose to 6,241.29 on Saturday, the highest ever, according to tracking by The Associated Press.

During the first wave of the pandemic in Arizona, when testing was less available than it is now, the seven-day case average peaked at 3,844 on July 6 and afterward fell as low as 373.14 on Sept. 12.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths is lagging behind the case numbers but has been surging recently. It was at 56.71 on Saturday, more than twice as much as the final week in November and the highest since Aug. 12.

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 electronically the previous evening by 100 hospitals across the state, as required under executive order.

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

  • The Navajo Nation reported 183 new coronavirus cases and two more deaths, bringing the documented totals to 19,608 infections and 720 fatalities.
  • The first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the United States headed Sunday from Michigan to distribution centers across the country, with the first shots expected to be given in the coming week to health care workers and at nursing homes.
  • The University of Arizona has finished construction on a storage facility that can hold more than 1.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Globally, there were about 71.85 million COVID-19 cases and 1.61 million deaths as of Sunday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 16.07 million cases and 298,000 deaths.

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Arizona reports 5,854 new coronavirus cases, 35 more deaths