ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona reports 5,560 new coronavirus cases, 118 more deaths

Dec 19, 2020, 8:30 AM | Updated: 7:23 pm
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)...
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Dec. 19, 2020.

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 5,560 new coronavirus cases and 118 additional deaths, as the virus surge continues to put a strain on hospitals.

It was the fourth consecutive day with at least 100 deaths reported. Until Thursday, there’d never been back-to-back days in triple digits.

The state’s documented totals increased to 448,231 COVID-19 infections and 7,937 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

While the vaccine rollout was starting this week, multiple COVID-19 metrics in Arizona were at or approaching the highest levels of the pandemic.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients was 4,014 on Friday, the eighth consecutive record-setting day.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in ICU beds was 939, the most since July 12 and closing in on the July 13 record of 970.

Statewide, suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients took up 47% of all inpatient beds as well as 53% of all ICU beds.

Overall, inpatient beds were 92% filled and ICU beds were also 92% filled.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, is showing signs of leveling off.

Through 87,777 tests this week, the positivity rate was 18%. The rate, which was 18% the previous two weeks, peaked at 21% at the end of June.

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 6,879.86 for Friday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, the second-highest ever.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths has surged this month. It was at 82 for Friday, tripling since Dec. 1 to the highest level since Aug. 2. The weekly death average peaked July 30 at 94.

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 235 new coronavirus cases and three additional deaths, bringing the documented totals to 20,810 infections and 745 fatalities.
  • A COVID-19 contact tracing app launched by the University of Arizona in August has reduced virus transmission on campus by 12%, according to university analysts.
  • Globally, there were about 75.80 million COVID-19 cases and 1.67 million deaths as of Saturday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 17.46 million cases and 313,672 deaths.

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Arizona reports 5,560 new coronavirus cases, 118 more deaths