ARIZONA NEWS

Number of COVID-19 patients in Arizona hospitals continues to rise

Nov 10, 2021, 9:07 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm

A member of the medical staff comforts a COVID-19 positive patient at the University Emergency Hosp...

A member of the medical staff comforts a COVID-19 positive patient at the University Emergency Hospital waiting area, in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

PHOENIX – Arizona’s COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday showed more than 2,000 inpatients being treated for the virus for the first time in nearly two months plus more than 3,000 new cases for the sixth time in seven days.

The state’s COVID-related inpatients and ICU patients both increased for the sixth consecutive day and are nearing the highest levels seen since the delta variant became the dominant coronavirus this summer, according to Arizona Department of Health Services data.

“It isn’t clear why this is happening, though the timing coincides with the start of cooler temperatures, fall break for schools and the continued dominance of the highly contagious delta variant,” ADHS Interim Director Don Herrington said in a blog post Tuesday.

Arizona’s hospitals were up to 2,026 COVID inpatients Tuesday, an overnight increase of 29. The number of COVID inpatients has gone up by 13.2% since the end of October to the highest level since Sept. 16, when 2,034 inpatients were reported.

The delta-era inpatient high mark was 2,103 on Sept. 11.

The state’s ICUs had 526 COVID patients, an overnight increase of 14 to the highest level since Sept. 27. COVID ICU cases have risen by 18.5% since the end of October.

The COVID ICU high mark during the delta surge was 573 on Sept. 16.

The addition of 3,794 cases and 39 deaths Wednesday brought the state’s documented totals to 1,199,277 infections and 21,525 fatalities.

The positivity rate for reported COVID-19 diagnostic testing on samples taken last week was 11%, the highest mark on the dashboard since the first week of August. As of Wednesday, it was 13% for the samples completed from this week.

According to data for August from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated people nationwide were 6.1 times more likely to get infected and 11.3 times more likely to die than people who were fully vaccinated.

“Breakthrough COVID-19 cases are rare among those who are fully vaccinated,” Herrington said. “They are normally much milder, and vaccinated individuals are far less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.

“But your goal should be avoiding any potential breakthrough case – and the potential that you will spread COVID-19 – by following mitigation strategies like masking up and maintaining physical distance.”

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.

Free federally authorized vaccines are widely available. The minimum age to receive the Pfizer shot is 5, and it’s 18 for the other available versions: Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

For details about statewide vaccine availability, the ADHS website has a vaccine-finder page with locations and other 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. Appointments may be required depending on the provider.

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.

Information about where to get tested for COVID-19 can be found on the ADHS website.

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Number of COVID-19 patients in Arizona hospitals continues to rise