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Arizona reports 4,845 new COVID-19 cases, 262 more deaths

Safeway pharmacist Preston Young fills a syringe with Moderna COVID-19 vaccination during a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on January 13, 2021 in Santa Rosa, California. Sonoma County health workers received COVID-19 vaccinations during a drive-thru clinic that was hosted by Sonoma County and Safeway. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Jan. 20, 2021.

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials on Wednesday reported 4,845 new coronavirus cases and 262 additional deaths from COVID-19.

The state’s documented totals moved to 690,544 infections and 11,528 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

It was the highest number of deaths announced in a day since Jan. 12 and followed a three-day stretch when just 19 total fatalities were reported.

The health department said 193 of the deaths added Wednesday were identified through the death certificate matching process.

As of Tuesday’s update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Arizona continued to lead the nation in cases per capita over the last seven days but dropped behind Alabama for second-most deaths per capita over the last seven days.

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have been trending downward since spiking to record levels early last week.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 4,663, the fewest since Jan. 3. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients dipped to 1,050, the fewest since Dec. 27.

Statewide, suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients took up 54% of all inpatient beds and 59% of all ICU beds on Tuesday, both down from the previous day

Overall, inpatient beds and ICU beds were each 92% full, the same level as the previous day.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, has fallen since hitting an all-time high two weeks ago.

Of the 167,888 people tested last week, 20% received a positive result, down 2 percentage points from the previous week. The rate was 21% through 13,031 people tested this week.

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 state health department’s newly reported coronavirus cases was at 7,085.57 for Tuesday, falling for the seventh consecutive day, according to tracking by The Associated Press.

After reaching a record high of 186.5 the previous day, the seven-day average of newly reported COVID-19 deaths plummeted to 130.83 for Tuesday, the lowest since Jan. 7.

The state’s daily updates 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.

Diagnostic testing is available at hundreds of locations across Arizona and should be sought out by anybody with symptoms or who may have been exposed to an infected person. Information about locations, schedules and registration can be found on the Department of Health Services website.

The department also has a vaccine-finder page with a map of active and pending locations and links to registration websites.


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

  • The Navajo Nation reported 94 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths, bringing the documented totals to 26,612 infections and 933 fatalities.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services issued a closure notice to downtown Phoenix music venue The Pressroom, citing coronavirus violations for an hosting a large concert for rapper Polo G over the weekend.
  • A judge ruled that the Pima County Board of Supervisors’ mandated curfew violated Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order that prohibits cities and counties from imposing stricter coronavirus restrictions in the state.
  • An Arizona State health expert estimates that only about 15,000 COVID-19 tests are being administered each day across the state, a figure that is low considering Arizona is “one of the hotspots in the country if not the world.”
  • Nearly 150,000 Arizonans snagged February appointments for COVID-19 shots on Tuesday, filling every slot up for grabs in about 14 hours.
  • Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix are studying how common cold antibodies might be able to ward off COVID-19.
  • The University of Arizona is now requiring students who live on campus to take a COVID-19 test twice a week as spring semester kicks into gear.
  • Globally, there were about 96.31 million COVID-19 cases and 2.06 million deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 24.26 million cases and 402,000 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.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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