Arizona reports over 4,000 new COVID-19 cases while hospital numbers dip

Nov 12, 2021, 10:36 AM | Updated: 10:39 am
Steven Cao holds still as health aide Isabel Delgado prepares to administer his COVID-19 vaccine We...

Steven Cao holds still as health aide Isabel Delgado prepares to administer his COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at Brownsville Independent School District's drive-thru Pfizer vaccine clinic for children ages five to 11 at the Brownsville Events Center in Brownsville, Texas. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials reported more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday for only the fourth time since last winter, but it might actually be the largest daily batch of additional cases in that span.

In some positive news regarding COVID trends, hospitalizations for the virus declined for the first time in a week, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 dashboard.

Friday’s report of 4,447 new cases included about 160 that were left out of previous updates due to an electronic reporting issue that has been resolved, an ADHS spokesman told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“That said, COVID-19 cases have been increasing in recent weeks, driving home the need for continuing tiered strategies of vaccination and mitigation, including masks and distancing indoors around those you don’t live with,” ADHS said in a tweet.

The last three times before Friday that more than 4,000 new cases were reported in a day – Sept. 1, Oct. 19 and Oct. 27 – the batches included backfill from previous days after system updates or data-processing issues.

The last 4,000-plus update that wasn’t known to include a significant amount of extra reporting came on Feb. 9.

According to tracking by The New York Times, the seven-day average for newly reported cases in Arizona is at its highest point since Sept. 1 and second-highest since early February.

When looking at the chart of cases confirmed by the date samples are taken, which change over several days as tests are processed and results are reported, you have to go back to Jan. 27 for a day with more cases than Monday of this week, which was at 4,329 as of Friday.

With 51 deaths added to the state dashboard Friday, Arizona’s documented pandemic totals are up to 1,207,348 cases and 21,600 fatalities. Death numbers were not affected by the recent reporting issue.

After rising for seven consecutive days, the number of COVID inpatients at Arizona’s hospitals was 2,083 on Thursday, down 30 from the previous day’s mark, which was a nine-month high.

The number of COVID patients in the state’s ICUs dipped by five to 530, also ending a seven-day upward streak.

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 Friday, it was 12% for the samples from the current week that have been completed and reported.

To date, nearly half the state hasn’t been fully vaccinated. Friday’s dashboard data showed 56.6% 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 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 reports over 4,000 new COVID-19 cases while hospital numbers dip