ARIZONA NEWS

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

Nov 20, 2021, 9:22 AM | Updated: 9:23 am
A young patient receives the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Nov. 15, 2...

A young patient receives the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.(AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, File)

(AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, File)

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

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 5,103 cases and 53 deaths to its COVID-19 dashboard, pushing the state’s documented totals for the pandemic to 1,238,249 infections and 21,939 fatalities.

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 2,419 confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients recorded in Arizona hospitals Friday, four 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 646 beds, 44 more than the previous day and the most since Feb. 13.

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 36% of the state’s ICU capacity on Friday. The number of unused hospital beds statewide was at 503 for inpatients and 129 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.

9.2 percent of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken this week returned positive as of Saturday’s dashboard update. 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 Saturday