COVID inpatient numbers climb while Arizona sets record for new cases
PHOENIX – The amount of inpatients with COVID-19 in Arizona hospitals has increased for 11 consecutive days, and the state reported a record number of new cases on Wednesday.
Today’s #COVID19 dashboard update adds 18,783 cases and six deaths. The current spike in cases is straining Arizona’s hospitals. Help them by getting vaccinated/boosted, staying home if sick, masking up, maintaining distance and following other steps at https://t.co/Kd4hI8dDY9. pic.twitter.com/46ik0oh4gC
— AZ Dept of Health (@AZDHS) January 12, 2022
“Nearly a third of our inpatient beds are now occupied by COVID or suspected COVID patients,” Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer for Banner Health, Arizona’s largest health care network, told reporters Tuesday. “Roughly 90% of those COVID patients are unvaccinated.”
Wednesday’s documented COVID case report of 18,783 topped the previous high of 17,234 from Jan. 3, 2021. Based on trends seen elsewhere, Arizona is likely to see more record caseloads before the ongoing omicron wave subsides.
But while the now-dominant omicron variant has pushed the COVID inpatient level to its highest point in 11 months, ICU bed use has remained below the delta wave peak from last month.
Those figures track with national and global trends that show omicron is much more transmissible than previous versions of the virus but generally causes less severe outcomes, especially for people who are fully vaccinated.
But even with a smaller percentage of serious illnesses, the omicron surge is creating additional stress on providers who already were stretched thin by the delta variant.
“You may experience longer waits or delays due to the significant strain on our health care system,” Bessel said. “Please also be kind and respectful to your health care workers.”
Here’s the latest data on the pandemic in Arizona (hospital, case, death, testing and vaccination statistics are based on Wednesday morning’s update of the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 dashboard; seven-day averages are based on tracking by The New York Times):
- Documented pandemic total – 1,524,363
- Daily new reports – Wednesday: 18,783; One day earlier: 14,160; One week earlier: 7,749; Pandemic high: 18,783 (Jan. 12, 2022)
- Seven-day average – Tuesday: 13,395; One day earlier: 12,403: One week earlier: 6,735; Pandemic high: 13,395 (Jan. 11, 2022)
- Documented pandemic total – 24,992
- Daily new reports – Wednesday: 6; One day earlier: 213; One week earlier: 61; Pandemic high: 335 (Jan. 12, 2021)
- Seven-day average – Tuesday: 68; One day earlier: 60: One week earlier: 52; Pandemic high: 175 (Jan. 13, 2021)
- COVID inpatients – Tuesday: 2,929; One day earlier: 2,869; One week earlier: 2,555; Pandemic high: 5,082 (Jan. 11, 2021)
- COVID ICU patients – Tuesday: 619; One day earlier: 650; One week earlier: 594; Pandemic high: 1,183 (Jan. 11, 2021)
Statewide hospital capacity
- Inpatients beds available – Tuesday: 446 (5% of capacity); One day earlier: 488 (6%); One week earlier: 562 (6%)
- Percentage of inpatient beds with COVID patients – Tuesday: 33%; One day earlier: 33%; One week earlier: 29%
- ICU beds available – Tuesday: 95 (6% of capacity); One day earlier: 89 (5%); One week earlier: 108 (7%)
- Percentage of ICU beds with COVID patients – Tuesday: 37%; One day earlier: 39%; One week earlier: 36%
Laboratory diagnostic testing
- Weekly percent positivity – Samples taken this week: 30%; Last week: 30%; Two weeks ago: 22%; Pandemic high (for a completed week): 30% (Jan. 2-8, 2022)
- Find a testing site: ADHS (statewide)
- Percentage of eligible Arizonans with at least one shot: 70.8%
- Percentage of eligible Arizonans fully vaccinated: 59.1%
- Find a vaccine site: ADHS (statewide); Maricopa County Public Health (metro Phoenix)
The ADHS daily case and death updates can cover multiple days of reporting because of data processing procedures and aren’t meant to represent the actual activity over the previous 24 hours. The hospitalization numbers posted each morning are reported electronically the previous evening by hospitals across the state.
The actual caseload is likely higher than officially reported because ADHS data is based mainly on electronic laboratory reporting and doesn’t include results from home kits unless individuals report them to their health care providers.
The minimum age for vaccination is 5 for Pfizer and 18 for Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. Boosters are approved, and highly encouraged, for individuals who received their second Pfizer (ages 12 and up only) or Moderna doses at least five months ago or the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago.