Arizona reports 701 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death Sunday

Jan 2, 2022, 8:48 AM | Updated: Jan 3, 2022, 8:58 am

PHOENIX – Arizona health officials reported 701 new COVID-19 cases and one more death on Sunday.

That put the state’s documented totals at 1,390,409 cases and 24,355 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 dashboard.

While omicron appears to produce less severe illness than previous versions of COVID-19, health officials worry that the variant’s rapid spread could push hospitalizations higher at a time when the health system is still stretched thin by a delta variant wave that hasn’t fully subsided.

Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association and former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday that he expected COVID hospitalizations to rise next month.

“Lots of new cases coming in, and even if a smaller percentage of them end up needing hospitalization, it’s still going to send more people to the hospital, at least in January and the first part of February,” Humble said.

The state’s seven-day average for new cases is still less than half of what it was during last winter’s peak.

The number of Arizona hospital COVID inpatients was at 2,339 on Sunday, up 58 from the previous day. ICU use for COVID patients was at 585 beds, down 28 from the previous day.

Overall remaining hospital space was reported at 604 inpatient beds (7% of capacity) and 120 ICU beds (7% of capacity) on Sunday. COVID cases were taking up 27% of statewide inpatient beds and 35% of the ICU beds.

Arizona’s percent positivity for diagnostic COVID testing was at 10.8% for samples taken this week as of Saturday’s dashboard update, down almost 10 percentage points from the previous day’s mark.

ADHS testing data is based mainly on electronic laboratory reporting and may not include results from home kits.

ADHS data for October showed that Arizonans who weren’t fully vaccinated against COVID were nearly four times more likely than those who were to test positive and over 15 times more likely to die from the virus.

The vaccine protection is even stronger when accounting for booster shots, according to nationwide data. Unvaccinated people in October were at 10 times greater risk of getting infected and 20 times greater risk of dying than people whose vaccination level included a booster dose, the CDC said.

The state dashboard on Sunday showed 69.8% of Arizonans old enough to get vaccinated had received at least one shot, with 58.6% fully vaccinated. The national rates released Saturday showed 78% of age-eligible individuals with at least one dose and 65.9% 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.

Health officials strongly recommend booster shots for adults (including people 16 and older for Pfizer) 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 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 reports 701 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death Sunday