The number of suspected or known COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and hospital beds across Arizona reached record highs as the state reported 2,800 new COVID-19 cases and 171 new known deaths Tuesday.
Arizona’s seven-day new case average ranks third highest in the nation, and public health experts expect the virus to spread further due to personal contact during the holidays.
Only California and Tennessee have had higher rates over the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker.
The state’s dashboard data shows 91% of all ICU beds and 91% of all inpatient beds in Arizona were in use on Monday, with 59% of ICU beds and 53 % of non-ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Statewide, there were 154 ICU beds and 765 non-ICU beds available.
The number of patients hospitalized in Arizona for known or suspected cases of COVID-19 was 4,475 on Monday, down from 4,390 on Sunday and a new record. By comparison, the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in a single day during the summer surge was 3,517 on July 13.
The number of suspected or known COVID-19 patients in ICUs across Arizona was 1,053 on Monday, a new record. During the summer surge in mid-July, ICU beds in use for COVID-19 peaked at 970.
Arizonans with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 in ventilators recorded 720 on Monday, a record for most ventilators in use for COVID-19. The previous single-day record was set on Sunday, with 715 fans in use. Before that, July 16, with 687 patients, was the peak day for ventilator use.
New cases in Arizona have dwarfed 4,000 during 25 of the last 30 days.
California was the nation’s worst hot spot, with a seven-day average rate of 97 cases per 100,000 people as of Monday, according to CDC figures. By comparison, Arizona’s rate was 80 per 100,000 people. The national average was 54.5.
The 2,799 new cases on Tuesday brought the total number of COVID-19 cases identified in the state to 507,222. As of Tuesday, 8,640 Arizonans are known to have died from the disease, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services data panel. Of the 171 deaths recently reported, 148 are due to a matching death certificate, according to the department.
The state reported more than 10,000 cases on Monday, which the Health Department said were due to several days being added to the dashboard after the holiday weekend.
Leaders of six major medical and public health groups in Arizona earlier this month called on Governor Doug Ducey to take more aggressive action against the spread of COVID-19, including a ban on eating indoors, limiting public gatherings. to no more than 25 people and the implementation of an enforceable mask and mandate.
A team of researchers from the University of Arizona wrote in a memo to the state Department of Health Services that without additional public health interventions, Arizona “runs the risk of a catastrophe on the scale of the worst natural disaster the state has ever experienced. It would be similar to facing a large forest fire without evacuation orders. “
Dr. Marjorie Bessel, clinical director of Phoenix-based Banner Health, said the state’s largest health care system already has two patients sharing rooms in several of its ICUs, and could reach 150% of its capacity of Authorized beds in January.
Arizona hospital officials are concerned about finding enough staff, not PPE or beds, to treat a surge of new COVID-19 patients, as hospitals compete for hired labor amid a pandemic affecting the whole country.
The percentage positivity, which refers to the percentage of COVID-19 diagnostic tests that are positive, has generally risen, which many health experts consider an early indicator of an increase in disease.
Arizona’s positivity rate also continues to rise. The previous week it stood at 22%. For the full two weeks before that, it was 18%, depending on the state, which has a unique way of calculating percent positivity. The percentage of positivity was 4% for several weeks during August, September and October, according to state data.
Johns Hopkins University calculates Arizona’s seven-day moving average of positive percentage at 15.6% as of Tuesday. It shows that the state’s positivity percentage peaked at 24.2% earlier this month, but may now be declining overall.
A positivity rate of 5% is considered a good benchmark that the spread of the disease is under control.
Arizona began its first COVID-19 vaccines for Phase 1A the week of December 14. Healthcare workers, first responders, residents of long-term care facilities and other vulnerable populations will be prioritized in the early phases, as will teachers, according to Ducey. . He said the vaccine will be free to anyone who needs it once it becomes more available.
What to know about Tuesday’s numbers
Cases reported in Arizona: 507,222.
Cases increased by 2,799, or 0.55%, of the 504,423 cases identified Monday since the outbreak began. These daily cases are grouped by the date they are reported to the Arizona Department of Health Services, not by the date the tests were administered.
Cases by county: 311,242 in Maricopa, 67,679 in Pima, 27,068 in Yuma, 26,857 in Pinal, 11,862 in Mohave, 11,119 in Navajo, 10,912 in Yavapai, 10,887 in Coconino, 7,274 in Apache, 7.25 The Navajo Nation reported 22,371 cases and 777 confirmed deaths in total as of Monday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Tribal leaders have implemented a home lockdown and reinstated weekend curfews due to what officials have called the “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19 in tribal communities.
The Arizona Department of Corrections reported that 6,411 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, including 1,517 in Tucson, 1,199 in Yuma, 984 in Eyman and 853 in Douglas; 42,749 inmates have been screened statewide. A total of 1,731 members of prison staff have reported testing positive, the department said. Twenty-six people incarcerated in Arizona have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, and an additional eight deaths are under investigation.
While race / ethnicity is unknown in 26% of all COVID-19 cases statewide, 32% of people are White, 29% are Hispanic / Latino, 5% are Native American, 3% are African American and 1% are Asian or Pacific Islander.
Of those who tested positive in Arizona since the start of the pandemic, 15% were under the age of 20, 45% were between 20 and 44 years old, 15% were between 45 and 54 years old, 12% were between 55 and 64 years old. and 13% were over 65 years old.
Labs have completed 2,794,362 diagnostic tests on unique individuals for COVID-19, 12.6% of which tested positive. That number includes both PCR and antigen tests. The percentage of positive tests had increased since mid-May, but began to decline in July and held steady at around 4% for several weeks, according to the state. It was at 22% last week and 18% for the previous two weeks. The state figures omit data from labs that do not report electronically: 9 in Cochise, 5,824 in Santa Cruz, 4,361 in Gila, 3,144 in Graham, 1,347 in La Paz and 387 in Greenlee, according to state figures.
The case rate per 100,000 people is highest in Yuma County, followed by Santa Cruz, Apache and Navajo counties. The rate in Yuma County is 11,771 cases per 100,000 residents. By comparison, the average US rate as of Monday was 5,740 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.
The state Department of Health has started to include probable cases such as anyone with a positive antigen test, another type of test to determine current infection. Antigen testing (unrelated to antibody testing) is a newer type of COVID-19 diagnostic test that uses a nasal swab or other fluid sample to detect a current infection. Results are normally produced in 15 minutes.
A positive result from an antigen test is considered very accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negative results, says the Mayo Clinic. Depending on the situation, Mayo Clinic officials say a doctor may recommend a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm a negative antigen test result.
Arizona as of Monday had the 21st highest overall case rate in the country since Jan.21. Ahead of Arizona in cases per 100,000 people since the pandemic began are North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Kansas, Arkansas, Nevada, Alabama and Mississippi, according to the CDC.
Arizona’s infection rate is 6,792 cases per 100,000 people, the CDC said. The national average is 5,740 cases per 100,000 people, although rates in the states hardest hit early in the pandemic may be insufficient due to a lack of available evidence in March and April.