ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona adds under 2,000 COVID-19 cases for first time this month

Nov 29, 2021, 9:10 AM
A nurse puts a used syringe into a box at an Italian Red Cross anti COVID-19 vaccination hub, in Ro...

A nurse puts a used syringe into a box at an Italian Red Cross anti COVID-19 vaccination hub, in Rome, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Italy was reinforcing checks at borders and going through lists of airline passengers who arrived in Italy in the last two weeks after a business travelers who returned from Mozambique tested positive for the new omicron variant. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials on Monday reported fewer than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time this month, but hospital numbers remained at their highest levels since last winter.

The Arizona Department of Health Services added 1,961 cases and one death to its COVID-19 dashboard, pushing the state’s documented totals for the pandemic to 1,266,809 infections and 22,230 fatalities.

As of Sunday, the state’s seven-day average for new cases was the lowest it’s been since Nov. 9, according to tracking by The New York Times.

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 2,581 confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients recorded in Arizona hospitals Sunday, 17 more than the previous day and the most since Feb. 9, when the winter surge was easing but vaccines were in limited supply.

ICU usage for COVID patients climbed to 660, up 13 more from the previous day to the second-highest mark since Feb. 13.

The inpatient and ICU numbers each have increased by around 45% since the end of October.

COVID-19 patients accounted for 29% of all Arizona’s inpatient capacity and 37% of the state’s ICU capacity on Sunday. The number of unused hospital beds statewide was at 716 for inpatients and 123 for ICUs.

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

Fourteen percent of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken last week returned positive as of Monday’s dashboard update, 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.

Sixty-six percent of Arizonans old enough to get vaccinated have received at least one shot, according to the dashboard, while 57% of those eligible are fully vaccinated.

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.

Adults who received their second Pfizer or Moderna doses more than six months ago are eligible for booster shots, as are people who got the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago.

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 under 2,000 COVID-19 cases for first time this month