ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona adds more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases for 10th consecutive day

Dec 10, 2021, 9:06 AM

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials on Friday reported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases for the 10th consecutive day along with over 90 additional deaths.

The Arizona Department of Health Services added 3,924 cases and 93 deaths to its COVID-19 dashboard, bringing the documented totals to 1,309,184 infections and 22,947 fatalities.

According to tracking by The New York Times, Arizona’s seven-day rolling average for newly reported cases has been over 4,000 since Monday.

The amount of free space in hospitals statewide increased slightly on Thursday after hitting pandemic-low levels the prior day.

The number of unused hospital beds in Arizona was at 447 for inpatients and 86 for ICUs, according to the dashboard, leaving 5% of capacity available for each. On Wednesday, when only 392 inpatient beds and 78 ICU beds were unused, remaining capacity was down to 4% each.

Confirmed or suspected COVID patients accounted for 31% of all Arizona’s inpatient space and 40% of the ICU beds.

The number of COVID inpatients was 2,770 on Thursday, down 19 from the previous day but the third-most since Feb. 7.

ICU usage for COVID patients was at 715 beds, up 11 from the previous day and the most since Feb. 10.

“About four of every five persons that are in the hospital are unvaccinated,” Dr. Richard Carmona, the state’s top pandemic adviser and a former U.S. surgeon general, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday, referring to COVID-related hospitalizations.

“That’s a staggering amount of people. Almost 80% of people that end up in the hospital haven’t been vaccinated.”

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 seen last winter, when the vaccine rollout was just starting.

Twelve percent of the completed diagnostic tests for samples taken this week returned positive as of Friday’s dashboard update, down 1 point from the previous week.

ADHS released new data earlier this week showing that Arizonans who aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19 were nearly four times more likely than those who are to test positive in October and over 15 times more likely to die from the virus.

The dashboard showed 67.5% of Arizonans old enough to get vaccinated have received at least one shot, while 57.8% of them are fully vaccinated. That trails the national rates of 76% of age-eligible residents with at least one dose and 64.3% 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 ago and those who got the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago.

On Thursday, the FDA expanded booster eligibility of Pfizer’s vaccine down to 16- and 17-year-olds.

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.

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.

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Arizona adds more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases for 10th consecutive day