ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona reports more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Nov 19, 2021, 11:57 AM
A person walks past a white flag memorial installation honoring the nearly 27,000 Los Angeles Count...
A person walks past a white flag memorial installation honoring the nearly 27,000 Los Angeles County residents who have died from COVID-19 outside Griffith Observatory, with the Hollywood sign in the background, on November 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles is holding a three-day citywide "Strength and Love" memorial honoring those who died and those who "have held the city together throughout the pandemic." (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENX – Arizona health officials reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the largest update covering one day’s worth of data since January.

That comes as hospitalizations for the coronavirus and the positivity rate for testing are at their highest levels since the extreme winter spike.

The Arizona Department of Health Services added 5,070 cases and 78 deaths to its COVID-19 dashboard, pushing the state’s documented totals for the pandemic to 1,233,146 infections and 21,886 fatalities.

Other than two daily reports last month that included multi-day backlogs following processing issues or system updates, the state hadn’t given a case update larger than Friday’s since Jan. 30, when 5,119 were reported. Jan. 31 had been the last day with more than 5,000 new cases.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 surged this summer, when the highly transmissible delta variant became the dominant version of the virus, and then tailed off after a mid-September peak. But they started rising again in October and have reached levels not seen in more than nine months.

There were 2,415 confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients recorded in Arizona hospitals Thursday, 12 more than the previous day and the most since Feb. 10, when the winter surge was easing but vaccines were in limited supply.

ICU usage for COVID patients was up to 602 beds, five 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 28% of all Arizona’s inpatient capacity and 34% of the state’s ICU capacity on Thursday. The number of unused hospital beds statewide was at 491 for inpatients and 119 for ICUs.

The height of the winter wave saw more than 10,000 new cases reported on some days, with over 5,000 COVID inpatients and 1,100 ICU patients.

Thirteen percent of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken this week returned positive as of Friday’s dashboard update. If that rate holds up, it would be the highest weekly percent positivity since Jan. 17-23. The winter peak for weekly percent positivity was 19% for Dec. 27-Jan 3.

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 reports more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday