5,267 new cases and 78 deaths

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The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Arizona again reached a new record, as the state reported more than 5,200 new cases of the virus and 78 new known deaths on Wednesday.

Arizona’s seven-day new case average ranks second highest in the nation, and public health experts expect the virus to spread further due to personal contact during the holidays.

Only California had a higher rate over the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker.

Hospitals in the Phoenix area have begun to temporarily close incoming emergency transportation and hospital transfers due to the overwhelming number of patients. Hospital leaders say they are in the worst position since the pandemic began.

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