ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona COVID-19 hospital inpatient numbers surge to 9-month high

Nov 11, 2021, 10:07 AM
Elsa Estrada, 6, smiles at her mother as pharmacist Sylvia Uong applies an alcohol swab to her arm ...

Elsa Estrada, 6, smiles at her mother as pharmacist Sylvia Uong applies an alcohol swab to her arm before administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a pediatric vaccine clinic for children ages 5 to 11 set up at Willard Intermediate School in Santa Ana, Calif. Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

PHOENIX – The number of COVID-19 inpatients in Arizona hospitals has soared to the highest level in nine months, according to data released Thursday.

In addition, the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard added more than 3,000 cases for the seventh time in eight days.

There were 2,113 Arizona inpatients being treated for the virus Wednesday. That was 87 more than the previous day, the top mark since the delta variant became dominant form of the coronavirus this summer and the most since Feb. 14, on the downside of last winter’s surge.

The current COVID inpatient level is 18% higher than it was at the end of October but remains less than half the pandemic peak of more than 5,000 in January, when the vaccine rollout was in its infancy.

“Breakthrough COVID-19 cases are rare among those who are fully vaccinated. They are normally much milder, and vaccinated individuals are far less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19,” ADHS Interim Director Don Herrington said in a blog post Tuesday.

“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.”

To date, nearly half the state hasn’t been fully vaccinated. Thursday’s dashboard update showed 56.5% of Arizonans eligible for a shot (ages 5 and up, 93.9% of the state population) and 53.1% of all state residents as having received at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-jab Johnson & Johnson version.

The state’s COVID-related inpatient and ICU patient totals both have increased for seven consecutive days.

The ICU number reached 535 on Wednesday, nine more than the previous day and the most since Sept. 27.

The addition of 3,624 cases and 24 deaths Thursday brought the state’s documented totals to 1,202,901 infections and 21,549 fatalities.

The positivity rate for reported COVID diagnostic testing on samples taken last week was 11%, the highest mark on the dashboard since the first week of August. As of Thursday, it was 12% for the samples completed from this week.

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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Arizona COVID-19 hospital inpatient numbers surge to 9-month high