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Arizona reports 497 new COVID-19 cases, 21 additional deaths Tuesday

(Tobias Schwarz / Pool via AP)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for March 16, 2021.

PHOENIX – Arizona public health officials on Tuesday reported 497 new coronavirus cases and 21 additional deaths from COVID-19.

It was fourth day in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases, Arizona’s longest such stretch since Oct. 21-24.

The state’s documented totals were updated to 833,878 coronavirus infections and 16,574 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

Key state metrics used to gauge the extent of the pandemic continue to improve and are the lowest they’ve been in months, and nearly a quarter of Arizona’s population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The ADHS dashboard showed that 2,590,447 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, a day-over-day increase of 43,462, with 1,628,587 people (22.7% of the state’s population) having received at least one shot.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients in the state’s hospitals increased by 27 overnight to 743 on Monday, the second-fewest since Oct. 18. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients dipped to 206, the fewest since Oct. 30.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, is at a five-month low.

Of the 66,746 people tested last week, 5% received a positive result. That matched the previous week’s mark, which the lowest since early October. The percent positivity was 5% through 2,189 people so far 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 Arizona health department’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 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.

For details about statewide COVID-19 vaccine availability, the ADHS website has a vaccine-finder page with a map of locations and information about registration and eligibility.

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

  • The Phoenix City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to reopen its outdoor park amenities as COVID-19 cases continue to decline.
  • The Navajo Nation reported two new coronavirus cases and one death, bringing the documented totals to 29,957 infections and 1,219 fatalities.
  • Arizona Health Director Dr. Cara Christ has some advice for COVID-19 vaccine hunters who haven’t been able to snag an appointment online. “What we recommend is to call the call center,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.
  • Arizona surpassed the 1 million mark Tuesday for people who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • A nationwide Moderna COVID-19 vaccine study that seeks the effectiveness of the shots for children younger than 12 is underway in Arizona.
  • One Gilbert family had to transform their entire house into a school so 11 of their kids could learn from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Phoenix firefighters have been forced to adjust and overcome throughout the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In what has been unquestionably the longest year of her career, a Valley ICU nurse told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad she is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Globally, there were about 120.36 million COVID-19 cases and 2.66 million deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 29.5 million cases and 535,000 deaths.

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For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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