ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona COVID-19 hospitalizations higher than a year ago

Nov 30, 2021, 9:38 AM | Updated: 9:45 am
A man wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, now mandatory in Britain in shops, shopping...

A man wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, now mandatory in Britain in shops, shopping centers and on public transport, after the emergence of new Omicron variant, in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

(Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

PHOENIX – On the final day of November, Arizona health officials reported nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 cases and more patients hospitalized for the virus than a year earlier.

The Arizona Department of Health Services on Tuesday added 2,971 cases and 77 deaths to its COVID-19 dashboard, pushing the state’s documented totals for the pandemic to 1,269,780 infections and 22,307 fatalities.

The dashboard also showed 2,676 confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients in Arizona hospitals on Monday, an increase of 95 from the previous day to the highest level since Feb. 8.

There were 2,513 COVID inpatients on the same date in 2020, on the upside of last winter’s steep wave and before vaccines were available.

ICU usage for COVID patients was at 660 for the second consecutive day Monday, the second-highest mark since Feb. 13.

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

COVID hospitalizations surged this past summer, when the highly transmissible delta variant became the dominant version of the virus, tailed off after a mid-September peak, and then started rising again.

The inpatient and ICU numbers each have increased by nearly 50% since the end of October.

COVID patients accounted for 30% of all Arizona’s inpatient capacity and 37% of the state’s ICU capacity on Monday. The number of unused hospital beds statewide was at 630 for inpatients and 138 for ICUs.

Fourteen percent of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken last week returned positive as of Tuesday’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.

No cases of the new omicron variant of concern have been detected in Arizona.

“We are in regular contact with federal partners on matters related to COVID-19, including the omicron variant, and will share important information as soon as we have it,” Don Herrington, ADHS interim director, said in a blog post Monday.

“For now, however, I continue to urge everyone to follow the steps public health has recommended consistently. Vaccination, boosters and mitigation are proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and nothing at this time suggests that won’t continue to be the case.”

Just over 66% of Arizonans old enough to get vaccinated have received at least one shot, according to the dashboard, while 57.3% 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.

Officials are now recommending booster shots for adults who received their second Pfizer or Moderna doses more than six months those 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 COVID-19 hospitalizations higher than a year ago