Arizona reports 5,366 new coronavirus cases, 34 more deaths
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Dec. 20, 2020.
PHOENIX – Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 5,366 new coronavirus cases and 34 additional deaths, as the virus surge continues to put a strain on hospitals.
The state’s documented totals increased to 453,597 COVID-19 infections and 7,971 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 3,899 on Saturday, a decrease from the record-setting 4,014 the day prior.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in ICU beds was 885, also slightly down from the day before.
Statewide, suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients took up 46% of all inpatient beds as well as 50% of all ICU beds.
Overall, inpatient beds were 92% filled and ICU beds were 91% 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 116,478 tests this week, the positivity rate was 17%. 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 6,520.29 for Saturday, according to tracking by The Associated Press.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths has surged this month. It was at 87.86 for Saturday, tripling since Dec. 1 to the highest level since July 31. 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.