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Arizona reports 544 new COVID-19 cases, 8 additional deaths Thursday

Sterling Heights firefighter Ashley Brouwer, who started her job in March 2021, prepares a syringe of Moderna vaccine at a distribution location in Sterling Heights, Mich., Wednesday, April 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

PHOENIX – Arizona public health officials reported 544 new coronavirus cases and eight additional deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, the day kids ages 12-15 became eligible for vaccines.

The latest documented totals were 871,168 COVID-19 infections and 17,438 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

The dashboard also showed that 5,431,712 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, with 3,085,000 people (42.9% of the state’s population) having received at least one shot and 2,550,867 people fully vaccinated.

About 400,000 more Arizonans became eligible for vaccination Thursday after federal regulators approved use of the Pfizer shots for 12- to 15-year-olds the previous day.

Since plummeting from January peaks, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have remained stable over the last two months, with relatively minor daily fluctuations.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients in the state’s hospitals decreased by 14 overnight to 585 on Wednesday. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients increased by eight to 198, the most since March 17.

The state health department’s daily updates present case and death 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 numbers posted each morning are reported electronically the previous evening by hospitals across the state.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 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 showing locations and registration information.

For information about metro Phoenix vaccine availability, Maricopa County Public Health has a locator page that lists pharmacies, government-run sites, health clinics and pop-up distribution events.

While the minimum age to receive the Pfizer shot has been reduced to 12, it’s still 18 for the other approved versions, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Appointments may be required depending on the provider, but many, including state-run mass vaccination sites, accept walk-ins.

Spots at the state-run sites can be secured at https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/ or by calling 844-542-8201. A new batch of appointments for the following week at those locations, which use the Pfizer vaccine, are released every Friday.

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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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