939 new instances, 121 new recognized deaths

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Arizona reported 939 new COVID-19 cases and 121 new known deaths Thursday as hospital admissions for the disease and percent positivity for testing continued to decline.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker, Arizona’s 7-day average for new cases was Wednesday 15th among all states, after ranking first and second for most of January.

The state’s rate of new positive cases in the past seven days was 21.4 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. New York City was the first with 50.5 cases per 100,000. The US mean for new cases was 19.7 cases per 100,000 people.

The state’s average daily COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people over the past seven days ranked second in the nation on Wednesday, according to the CDC.

Arizona’s newly reported 121 deaths brought the known COVID-19 number to 15,814. The state passed 15,000 deaths on February 17, after recording 14,000 deaths on February 6 and 13,000 deaths on January 29, just one week after 12,000 and two weeks after 11,000 deaths. The state exceeded 10,000 known deaths on January 9. Arizona’s first known death from the disease occurred in mid-March.

Many of the deaths occurred days or weeks earlier as delays were reported and the death certificate matched.

In just over a year since the first Arizona case was announced, a total of 812,907 COVID-19 cases have been identified across the state. Relatively few cases were reported in February.

The Arizona data dashboard shows that 85% of all ICU beds and 89% of all inpatient beds in the state were in use on Thursday, with 24% of ICU beds and 16% of ICU beds outside of COVID-19 -Patients were occupied. Nationwide, 259 beds were available in the intensive care unit and 975 beds outside the intensive care unit.

Hospital stays for the disease have been falling for more than six weeks but remain at a relatively high level.

The number of patients hospitalized for known or suspected COVID-19 cases in Arizona stood at 1,385 on Wednesday, compared to 1,449 inpatients on Tuesday and well below the record of 5,082 inpatients on Jan. 11. By comparison, the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona was a single day during the summer surge on July 13th was 3,517.

The number of patients with suspected or known COVID-19 in intensive care units across Arizona was 415 on Wednesday, compared to 430 on Tuesday and below the record high of 1,183 on Jan. 11. During the summer surge in mid-July, the intensive care unit was on use for COVID-19, which peaked at 970.

Arizonans with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 on ventilators hit 241 on Wednesday, compared to 253 on Tuesday and well below the record high of 821 on Jan. 13. During the summer surge, July 16 was the peak day for ventilator patient use with 687 patients.

On Wednesday there were 1,210 patients in the emergency room for COVID-19, down from the December 29th record of 2,341 positive or suspected COVID-19 patients in emergency rooms across the state.

The percent positivity, which relates to the percentage of positive COVID-19 diagnostic tests, has decreased, but varies somewhat depending on the type of measurement.

Last week, Arizona’s percent positivity stayed at 9% for the second straight week, according to the state, which has a unique way to calculate percent positivity. According to government data, the percent positivity was between 4% and 6% for much of August, September, and October.

Johns Hopkins University calculates the Arizona moving average for seven days as a percentage of positive results as of Thursday at 4.7%. It shows that the state’s percentage positivity peaked at 24.2% in December.

A positivity rate of 5% or less is considered a good measure of whether the spread of the disease is under control.

Arizona began its first COVID-19 vaccinations for Phase 1A in the week of December 14, but the process has been slow due to limited vaccine supplies. Registration is available in priority countries or for all Phase 1B individuals and in most locations for individuals aged 65 and over. Governor Doug Ducey said the vaccine was free for everyone.

As of Thursday, more than 1.1 million people nationwide had received at least one dose of vaccine, with about 465,500 people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with two doses, according to state data.

What you should know about Thursday’s numbers

Reported Cases in Arizona: 812.907.

Cases since the outbreak began, up 939, or 0.12%, from the 811,968 cases identified on Wednesday. These daily cases are grouped by the date they are reported to the Arizona Department of Health, not the date the tests were performed.

Cases by county: 507,951 in Maricopa, 108,952 in Pima, 45,925 in Pinal, 36,375 in Yuma, 21,050 in Mohave, 16,990 in Yavapai, 16,385 in Coconino, 15,525 in Navajo, 11,128 in Cochise, 10,391 in Apache, 7,620 in Santa Cruz, 6,387 in Gila in Graham , 2,390 in La Paz and 558 in Greenlee, according to state figures.

The rate of fall per 100,000 people since the pandemic began is highest in Yuma County, followed by Apache, Santa Cruz, Navajo and Graham counties. The rate in Yuma County is 15,818 cases per 100,000 people. By comparison, the average U.S. rate since the pandemic began was 8,454 cases per 100,000 people on Wednesday, according to the CDC.

The Navajo Nation reported a total of 29,602 cases and 1,152 confirmed deaths on Wednesday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Tribal leaders suspended the lockdowns the weekend after January 25th, although a stay at home and night curfew order remained in place.

The Arizona Department of Justice reported that as of Wednesday 11,955 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19, including 2,239 in Tucson, 2,006 in Yuma, 2,001 in Eyman, 1,307 in Lewis and 1,158 in Douglas; Nationwide 43,613 inmates were tested. A total of 2,665 prison staff said they had tested positive. 35 people incarcerated in Arizona have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19. Another 18 deaths are being investigated.

Race / ethnicity is unknown for 18% of all COVID-19 cases across the state, but 37% of people are white, 30% are Hispanic or Latin American, 5% are Native American, 3% are black, and 1% are Asian -pacific islanders.

Of those who tested positive since the Arizona pandemic began, 16% were younger than 20, 44% were 20-44, 15% were 45-54, 12% were 55-64, and 13% were over 65 years of age.

The laboratories performed 3,728,569 individual diagnostic tests for COVID-19, of which 14.5% were positive. This number includes both PCR and antigen testing. The percentage of positive tests had increased since mid-May but began to decrease in July and remained constant at 4% per state for several weeks. For the last full week it was 9%. The status numbers omit data from laboratories that do not report electronically.

The Arizona Department of Health includes likely cases such as people with a positive antigen test, another type of test used to determine current infection. Antigen tests (not related to antibody tests) are newer diagnostic COVID-19 tests that use a nasal swab or other fluid sample to test for current infections. Results are usually generated within 15 minutes.

A positive antigen test result is considered very accurate, but there is an increased chance of false negative results, says the Mayo Clinic. Depending on the situation, Mayo Clinic officials say that a doctor may recommend a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm a negative antigen test result.

Arizona had the sixth highest overall case rate in the country since Jan. 21, 2020. According to Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah and Tennessee are ahead of Arizona the CDC according to cases per 100,000 people before the pandemic began.

According to the CDC, the infection rate in Arizona is 11,137 cases per 100,000 people. The national average is 8,454 cases per 100,000 people, although rates in states that were badly affected at the start of the pandemic may be undercounted in March and April due to a lack of available tests.

Reported deaths in Arizona: 15,814

Deaths by counties: 9,000 in Maricopa, 2,202 in Pima, 781 in Yuma, 763 in Pinal, 641 in Mohave, 488 in Navajo, 455 in Yavapai, 380 in Apache, 309 in Coconino, 264 in Cochise, 211 in Gila, 167 in Santa Cruz, 72 in Graham, 71 in La Paz and 10 in Greenlee.

People aged 65 and over accounted for 11,849 of the 15,814 deaths, or 75%. After that, 15% of the deaths were in the 55-64 age group, 6% were 45-54 years old, and 4% were 20-44 years old.

While race / ethnicity was unknown for 7% of the deaths, 49% of those who died were white, 29% Hispanic or Latin American, 8% were Native American, 3% were black, and 1% were Asian Pacific islanders.

The global death toll was 2,499,668 Thursday morning, and the US had the highest death toll of any country in the world at 505,945, according to Johns Hopkins University. Arizona’s total of 15,814 deaths equals 3.1% of the COVID-19 deaths in the US on Thursday.

The COVID-19 death rate in Arizona since the pandemic began was 215 per 100,000 people on Wednesday, according to the CDC, placing it in sixth place in the country in a ranking that separates New York City from New York state. The US average on Wednesday was 150 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.

New York City had the highest death rate with 345 deaths per 100,000 people. This was followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Mississippi.

Reach the reporter at Alison.Steinbach@arizonarepublic.com or at 602-444-4282. Follow her on Twitter @alisteinbach.

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