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Arizona reports 445 new COVID-19 cases, 12 additional deaths Wednesday

The Rev. Patricia Fears, Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Washington, DC, receives a COVID-19 vaccination during a public vaccination event at Washington National Cathedral March 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Washington National Cathedral hosted the public vaccination event to help demonstrate trust by faith leaders of all denominations in the COVID-19 vaccines and encourage Americans, especially communities who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, and those who remain vaccine-hesitant. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for March 17, 2021.

PHOENIX – Arizona public health officials on Wednesday reported 445 new coronavirus cases and 12 additional deaths from COVID-19.

The state’s stretch of consecutive days with fewer than 1,000 new cases reached five, the longest since a nearly monthlong streak ended Oct. 14.

It was also the first time with first back-to-back days of under 500 new cases since Oct. 4-5.

The state’s documented totals were updated to 834,323 coronavirus infections and 16,586 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

Key metrics used to gauge the extent of the pandemic are at or near 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 2,646,874 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, a day-over-day increase of 56,427, with 1,663,876 people (23.1% 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 to 773 on Tuesday, the most since Friday. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients increased by two overnight to 208, the second-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 67,762 people tested last week, 5% received a positive result. That matched the previous week’s mark, which was the lowest since early October. The percent positivity was 6% for 7,469 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 Wednesday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • Additional appointments for the four state-run COVID-19 vaccination sites will open each Friday for the following week, the state health department announced Wednesday.
  • The Navajo Nation reported 10 new coronavirus cases and three deaths, bringing the documented totals to 29,968 infections – including one delayed reported case – and 1,222 fatalities.
  • The Navajo Nation on Friday will honor the 1,200-plus lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic with a virtual day of prayer event.
  • After almost a year of struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yoga Onyx held its last class in late February before closing its doors.
  • In the past year, gym owner and patrons have been forced to adapt to new restrictions and procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A Valley doctor urged Arizonans not to undo the progress made during the COVID-19 pandemic by failing to follow safety protocols during spring break and St. Patrick’s Day activities.
  • A 77-year-old Scottsdale man rode his bicycle 24 miles to get his shot at receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in mid-January.
  • Globally, there were about 120.85 million COVID-19 cases and 2.67 million deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 29.55 million cases and 537,000 deaths.

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