Arizona adds more than 4,000 COVID cases as hospital surge continues

Nov 18, 2021, 9:05 AM | Updated: Nov 19, 2021, 11:25 am
A doctor tends to a patient on the Covid-19 intensive care unit at University Hospital Leipzig on N...
A doctor tends to a patient on the Covid-19 intensive care unit at University Hospital Leipzig on Nov. 18, 2021, in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

PHOENX – Arizona public health officials on Thursday reported more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases for the second time this month, while the number of hospitalizations for the virus keeps climbing.

With 4,184 cases and 56 deaths added to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard, the state’s documented totals for the pandemic increased to 1,228,076 infections and 21,808 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 and have reached levels not seen in nine months.

There were 2,403 confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients recorded in Arizona hospitals Wednesday, 88 more than the previous day and the most since Feb. 10, when the extreme winter surge was easing but vaccines were in limited supply.

ICU usage for COVID patients was up to 597 beds, 19 more than the previous day and the most since Feb. 15.

The inpatient and ICU numbers each have increased by more than 34% since the end of October.

COVID-19 patients accounted for 27% of all Arizona’s inpatient capacity and 34% of the state’s ICU capacity on Wednesday. The number of unused beds statewide was down to 484 for inpatients and 112 for ICUs.

Fourteen percent of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken this week returned positive as of Thursday’s dashboard update. If that rate holds up, it would be the highest weekly percent positivity since January 17-23.

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.

“The keys to putting COVID-19 in its place, even with the highly infectious delta variant at work, are in our hands with the availability of safe, free, highly effective and widely available COVID-19 vaccines and attention to the proven mitigation strategies,” Don Herrington, ADHS interim director, said in a blog post Tuesday.

Nearly two-thirds of Arizonans eligible for a vaccine have received at least one shot, according to the dashboard.

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 adds more than 4,000 COVID cases as hospital surge continues