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Arizona reports 423 new COVID-19 cases, 46 additional deaths Friday

Syringes with doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared for injection at First Baptist Church of Highland Park March 18, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for March 19, 2021.

PHOENIX – Arizona public health officials on Friday reported 423 new coronavirus cases and 46 additional deaths from COVID-19.

The new case report has been below 500 each of the last four days, the longest such stretch since a five-day streak in early September.

The state’s documented totals were updated to 835,030 coronavirus infections and 16,691 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 2,748,100 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, a day-over-day increase of 56,974, with 1,730,152 people (24.1% 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 decreased to 686 on Thursday, the fewest since Oct. 11. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients fell to 184, the fewest since Oct. 25.

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 27,268 people tested so far this week, 5% received a positive result, matching the lowest mark since early October.

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

  • The Navajo Nation reported five new coronavirus cases and one death, bringing the documented totals to 29,992 infections and 1,229 fatalities.
  • Arizona will adjust its state-run mass vaccination operations in April to combat rising temperatures, Health Director Dr. Cara Christ announced.
  • Award-winning Phoenix chef Chris Bianco told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show he was blindsided by the totality of the COVID-19 pandemic, but his restaurants made it through.
  • Students can safely sit just 3 feet apart in the classroom as long as they wear masks but should be kept the usual 6 feet away from one another at sporting events, assemblies, lunch or chorus practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
  • Due to closures and continuing restrictions, restaurants and bars across Arizona had to constantly adapt or risk going out of business since the COVID-19 pandemic hit a year ago.
  • Globally, there were about 121.93 million COVID-19 cases and 2.69 million deaths as of Friday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 29.67 million cases and 539,000 deaths.

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