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Arizona reports 9,398 new COVID-19 cases, 244 more deaths

Sri Lankan municipal health workers take a swab sample from a man to test for COVID-19 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Sri Lanka on Thursday re-opened the country for tourists after keeping the doors closed for the visitors for nearly 10 months due to the COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Jan. 21, 2021.

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials on Thursday reported 9,398 new coronavirus cases and 244 additional deaths from COVID-19.

That’s the highest single-day case report since Jan. 10 and the second consecutive day with more than 240 deaths added.

The state’s documented totals moved to 699,942 infections and 11,772 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

As of Wednesday’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 from second to fourth for the death rate.

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 4,580 on Wednesday, the fewest since Jan. 2. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients edged up by eight overnight to 1,058, the second-fewest since Dec. 28.

Statewide, suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients took up 53% of all inpatient beds and 59% of all ICU beds on Wednesday.

Overall, inpatient beds and ICU beds held steady at 92% full each.

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 177,673 people tested last week, 20% received a positive result, down 2 percentage points from the previous week. The rate was 20% through 36,520 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 6,973.57 for Wednesday, falling for the eighth consecutive day, according to tracking by The Associated Press.

After seeing a sharp decline a day earlier, the seven-day average of newly reported COVID-19 deaths increased to 142.67 for Wednesday.

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 with information about registration.

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

  • The Navajo Nation reported 166 new coronavirus cases and seven additional deaths, bringing the documented totals to 26,782 infections and 940 fatalities.
  • Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad the country’s coronavirus vaccination execution feels like “50 states acting like 50 separate countries” instead of a cohesive unit because of a lack of former leadership and guidance from the federal level.
  • Valley economist Elliott Pollack would like to see President Joe Biden focus coronavirus relief efforts on people directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • Drugmaker Eli Lilly said its antibody drug can prevent COVID-19 illness in residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care locations. It’s the first major study to show such a treatment may prevent illness in a group that has been devastated by the pandemic.
  • Deep in the deadliest coronavirus wave and facing worrisome new strains, President Joe Biden will initiate a national COVID-19 strategy to ramp up vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel.
  • The public health director in Pinal County is pleading for more coronavirus vaccines as vaccination sites struggle to keep up with demand.
  • Experts in Russia and the United Kingdom suggest binge drinking ahead of receiving the coronavirus vaccine could affect an individual’s immune system.
  • Globally, there were about 96.97 million COVID-19 cases and 2.08 million deaths as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 24.44 million cases and 406,000 deaths.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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