Arizona hits 9-month COVID-19 highs for hospital inpatients, ICU usage

Nov 16, 2021, 9:22 AM | Updated: 9:23 am
Leah Malloy, 6, left, and her brother Owen Malloy, 9, take photos with their COVID-19 vaccine certi...
Leah Malloy, 6, left, and her brother Owen Malloy, 9, take photos with their COVID-19 vaccine certificates after receiving the Pfizer vaccine on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

PHOENIX – Arizona hospitals are seeing the highest numbers since February for COVID-19 inpatients and ICU bed usage, while the state reported more than 80 additional deaths from the virus, according to data released Tuesday.

With 3,240 cases and 83 deaths (the second-most in a day this month) added to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard, the latest documented totals are 1,220,433 cases and 21,736 fatalities.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 surged this summer after the highly transmissible delta variant became the dominant version of the coronavirus and then tailed off after a mid-September peak. But they started rising again about a month ago.

There were 2,274 confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients recorded in Arizona hospitals Monday, 74 more than the previous day and the most since Feb. 12, when the extreme winter surge was easing but vaccines were in limited supply. The number is up 36.7% in the last month.

ICU usage for COVID patients was up to 576 beds, 22 more than the previous day and the most since Feb. 16. ICU numbers for COVID patients dipped after the initial delta wave to as low as 433 on Oct. 25 but have surged by 33% since then.

COVID-19 patients currently account for 26% of all Arizona’s inpatient capacity and 32% of the state’s ICU capacity.

Twelve percent of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken last week had come back positive as of Tuesday’s dashboard update, up 1 percentage point from the previous week to the highest level since the last week of July.

To date, just over half the state has been fully vaccinated. Tuesday’s dashboard data showed 56.7% of Arizonans eligible for a shot (ages 5 and up, 93.9% of the state population) and 53.3% 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 Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer version has full Food and Drug Administration approval, while the other two were granted emergency use authorization.

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 hits 9-month COVID-19 highs for hospital inpatients, ICU usage