CORONAVIRUS NEWS

Arizona delta wave reaches new heights in COVID-19 cases on Saturday

Dec 4, 2021, 9:12 AM

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials reported 6,043 new COVID-19 cases and 164 additional deaths on Saturday as the delta wave surges to new heights.

It was the state’s largest case update representing a single day of reporting in 10 months. In addition, inpatient hospitalizations for the virus reached their highest level since last winter’s spike.

Since 6,338 cases were added on Jan. 20, the only times more new cases were reported than Saturday were when the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 dashboard was getting caught up with multiple days’ worth of data after experiencing reporting issues.

The state’s documented pandemic totals were up to 1,288,234 cases and 22,561 deaths after Saturday’s update.

The dashboard also showed 2,697 confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients in Arizona hospitals on Friday, 17 fewer than the previous day.

ICU usage for COVID patients was at 668 beds, up 12 from the previous day.

Arizona’s COVID hospitalizations surged this past summer, when the highly transmissible delta variant became the dominant version of the virus, and tailed off after a mid-September peak. They started rising again in October and are now more than halfway to the high marks of last winter’s surge.

For now, the extra-contagious delta variant accounts for practically all cases in the U.S. and continues to inflict misery across the nation at a time when many hospitals are struggling with shortages of nurses and a backlog of patients undergoing procedures that had been put off early in the pandemic.

The fear is that the new omicron variant, which has been detected in a few U.S. cases but not in Arizona, will foist even more patients, and perhaps sicker ones, onto hospitals.

“For me, it’s really just, I can’t imagine,” Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, a Phoenix family physician, told The Associated Press. “Are we going to see another surge in cases that’s even higher than what we’re seeing now? What will that do to our health system? What will that do to our hospitals?”

COVID patients accounted for 31% of all Arizona’s inpatient capacity and 38% of the state’s ICU capacity on Friday. The number of unused hospital beds statewide was at 462 for inpatients and 94 for ICUs.

9.8% of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken this week returned positive as of Saturday’s dashboard update.

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 dashboard showed 66.8% of Arizonans old enough to get vaccinated against COVID-19 have received at least one shot, while 62.8% of them are fully vaccinated.

“I’m glad to see the ADHS data dashboard showing increased demand lately for COVID-19 booster shots and primary vaccinations. Federal officials and ADHS have advised repeatedly that vaccination is the best way to prepare for uncertainties posed by the omicron variant, not to mention from COVID-19 in general,” Jessica Rigler, ADHS assistant director overseeing the Division of Public Health Preparedness, said in a blog post Thursday.

“While there are news reports saying that some areas are seeing waits of two weeks for booster shot appointments, please keep two things in mind: 1) There is plenty of vaccine available around Arizona; 2) Appointments may be available a little farther away or at a provider you haven’t visited before if you face a longer-than-desired wait for one in your neighborhood.”

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 ago and those who got the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago.

For details about statewide vaccine availability, the ADHS website has 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 withoutsymptoms — 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Coronavirus News

Carey Johnson and her son Fabian Swain are photographed wearing face masks in their Germantown, Md....
Associated Press

After a year, omicron still driving COVID surges and worries

A year after omicron began its assault on humanity, the ever-morphing coronavirus mutant drove COVID-19 case counts higher in many places just as Americans gathered for Thanksgiving.
6 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Associated Press

Arizona man convicted for threatening principal over school COVID rules

A Tucson man who showed up with zip ties and threatened to arrest an elementary school principal was convicted of several offenses.
1 month ago
FILE - A nurse prepares a syringe of a COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation station in Jackson, Miss....
Associated Press

Panel votes to add COVID shots to recommended vaccinations

NEW YORK (AP) — COVID-19 shots should be added to the lists of recommended vaccinations for kids and adults, a panel of U.S. vaccine experts said Thursday. The panel’s unanimous decision has no immediate effect — COVID-19 shots already are recommended for virtually all Americans. Rather, it would put the shots on the annually updated, […]
1 month ago
This provided by Pfizer in October 2022 shows manufacturing of the company's COVID-19 bivalent vacc...
Associated Press

US clears updated COVID boosters for kids as young as 5

The U.S. on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5, seeking to expand protection ahead of an expected winter wave. Tweaked boosters rolled out for Americans 12 and older last month, doses modified to target today’s most common and contagious omicron relative. While there wasn’t a big rush, federal health officials […]
2 months ago
This August 2022 photo provided by Pfizer shows vials of the company's updated COVID-19 vaccine dur...
Associated Press

CDC endorses updated COVID boosters, shots to begin soon

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed updated COIVD-19 boosters, opening the way for a fall vaccination campaign that could blunt a winter surge if enough Americans roll up their sleeves. The new boosters targeting today’s most common omicron strains should begin arriving in pharmacies and clinics within days. The decision by […]
3 months ago
(Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)...
Griselda Zetino

Vast majority of Arizona kids have had COVID-19, according to CDC

The vast majority of Arizona children have been infected with COVID-19, according to a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Arizona delta wave reaches new heights in COVID-19 cases on Saturday