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Arizona reports 284 new COVID-19 cases, 59 additional deaths Thursday

Nurses fill syringes with doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Wayside Christian Mission on March 15, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for March 18, 2021.

PHOENIX – Arizona public health officials on Thursday reported 284 new coronavirus cases and 59 additional deaths from COVID-19.

It was the second-lowest case report in nearly six months. It was also the third consecutive day with fewer than 500 new cases for the first time since late September.

The state’s documented totals were updated to 834,607 coronavirus infections and 16,645 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 2,691,126 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, a day-over-day increase of 44,252, with 1,692,112 people (23.5% 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 decreased to 743 on Wednesday, matching the second-lowest mark since Oct. 18. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients fell to 200, 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 17,858 people tested this week, 5% received a positive result, matching the lowest mark since early October. The percent positivity was also 5% for 68,127 people last 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 Thursday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • The Navajo Nation reported 18 new coronavirus cases and six deaths, bringing the documented totals to 29,987 infections – including one delayed reported case – and 1,228 fatalities.
  • The Pinal County health department announced Thursday that people 18 years of age and older who live or work in the county are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine at community providers.
  • Arizona is launching a state-supported mass vaccination site in Yuma beginning March 29, Gov. Doug Ducey’s office announced Thursday.
  • David Hines, executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, has high hopes for the fall high school sports season after a tumultuous year brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Authorities started vaccinating eligible metro Phoenix jail inmates for COVID-19.
  • Grand Canyon National Park officials tentatively plan to reopen the park’s eastern entrance in late May, but there’s sentiment in a small northern Arizona city that sooner would be better.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Services made 5,000 COVID-19 vaccination appointments available Thursday at two of the state-run sites because of cancellations.
  • A Valley high school basketball coach could never have imagined the obstacles his team ended up facing during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Over 130 physicians from across Arizona have signed a letter urging lawmakers to not pass a GOP-backed bill allowing businesses to ignore mask mandates.
  • High school athletes love to compete against other teams, but players have found themselves competing against the COVID-19 pandemic instead over the last year.
  • Globally, there were about 122.38 million COVID-19 cases and 2.68 million deaths as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 29.61 million cases and 538,000 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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