Arizona reported 262 new COVID-19 cases and 27 new known deaths on Saturday, a drop from Friday’s numbers and a continuation of lower case numbers reported during the first half of the week.
Arizona’s seven-day case rate per 100,000 people ranked 13th Friday among all states, after ranking first and second for much of January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker.
The state’s seven-day death rate per 100,000 people ranked ninth in the nation as of Friday, per the CDC.
Percent positivity, which refers to the percent of COVID-19 diagnostic tests that are positive, has been declining but varies somewhat based on how it’s measured.
Last week, Arizona’s percent positivity was 5% after being at 7% the week prior and 9% the two weeks before that, according to the state, which has a unique way of calculating percent positivity. Weekly percent positivity statewide peaked at 25% in December.
Johns Hopkins University calculates Arizona’s seven-day moving average of percent positives at 3.3% as of Saturday. It shows the state’s percent positivity peaked at 24.2% in December.
A positivity rate of 5% or less is considered a good benchmark that the spread of the disease is under control.
The state’s overall COVID-19 death and case rates since Jan. 21, 2020, remain among the worst in the country.
The COVID-19 death rate in Arizona since the pandemic began is 226 deaths per 100,000 people as of Friday, according to the CDC, putting it sixth in the country in a state ranking that separates New York City from New York state. The U.S. average is 159 deaths per 100,000 people as of Friday, the CDC said.
New York City has the highest death rate, at 358 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Mississippi.
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Arizona’s case rate per 100,000 people since the pandemic began also ranks sixth nationwide as of Friday.
Arizona’s newly reported 27 deaths brings the known COVID-19 death count to 16,546. The state surpassed 16,000 deaths on March 2 after passing 15,000 deaths on Feb. 17, 14,000 deaths on Feb. 6 and 13,000 deaths on Jan. 29, just one week after it passed 12,000 and two weeks after 11,000 deaths. The state exceeded 10,000 known deaths on Jan. 9. Arizona’s first known death from the disease occurred in mid-March 2020.
Many of the reported deaths occurred days or weeks prior, because of reporting delays and death certificate matching.
A total of 832,094 COVID-19 cases have been identified across the state. February and March have seen relatively lower case reports.
Friday’s 1,367 reported cases and Thursday’s 1,835 cases broke a pattern of lower numbers seen earlier this week. Wednesday’s 830 new cases, Tuesday’s 563 new cases and Monday’s 783 new cases marked the first time three consecutive daily case reports were under 1,000 since late October.
The Arizona data dashboard shows 85% of all ICU beds and 88% of all inpatient beds in the state were in use Wednesday, with 14% of ICU beds and 10% of non-ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. Statewide, 262 ICU beds and 1,011 non-ICU beds were available.
Hospitalizations for the disease have been dropping for more than eight weeks but remain at relatively high levels.
The total number of patients hospitalized in Arizona for known or suspected COVID-19 cases was at 814 on Friday, down from Thursday’s 831 and far below the record 5,082 inpatients on Jan. 11. By comparison, the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in a single day during the summer 2020 surge was 3,517 on July 13.
The number of patients with suspected or known COVID-19 in ICUs across Arizona was at 238 on Friday, a slight increase from Thursday’s 236 and far below the record high of 1,183 on Jan. 11. During the summer surge in mid-July, ICU beds in use for COVID-19 peaked at 970.
Arizonans with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 on ventilators tallied 107 on Friday, down from 110 on Thursday and well below the record high 821 reached on Jan. 13. During the summer surge, July 16 was the peak day for ventilator use, with 687 patients.
Thursday saw 1,018 patients in the emergency room for COVID-19, well below the Dec. 29 single-day record of 2,341 positive or suspected COVID-19 patients seen in emergency departments across the state.
Arizona began its first COVID-19 vaccinations for Phase 1A the week of Dec. 14. Registration is open in counties for priority or all Phase 1B individuals and in most places for those 65 and older, and the state recently switched to a partly age-based rollout so those 55 and older are eligible at state sites and in many counties.
More than 1.4 million people statewide had received at least one vaccine dose as of Friday, with about 870,000 people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with two doses, state data show. Arizona has about 5.6 million adults age 18 and older.
March 11 marked one year since Gov. Doug Ducey issued an emergency declaration after health officials announced the state’s ninth case and the head of the World Health Organization named the outbreak a pandemic.
What to know about Saturday’s numbers
Reported cases in Arizona: 832,094.
Cases since the outbreak began increased by 262, or 0.03%, from Friday’s 831,832 identified cases. 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: 520,291 in Maricopa, down 98 cases from what was reported Friday; 111,115 in Pima, 47,527 in Pinal, 36,580 in Yuma, 21,603 in Mohave, 18,121 in Yavapai, 16,851 in Coconino, 15,560 in Navajo, 11,402 in Cochise, 10,705 in Apache, 7,681 in Santa Cruz, 6,447 in Gila, 5,329 in Graham, down one from what was reported Friday; 2,418 in La Paz, down two from what was reported Friday; and 562 in Greenlee, according to state numbers.
The rate of cases per 100,000 people since the pandemic began is highest in Yuma County, followed by Apache, Santa Cruz, Graham and Navajo counties, per state data. The rate in Yuma County is 15,907 cases per 100,000 people. By comparison, the U.S. average rate since the pandemic began is 8,769 cases per 100,000 people as of Friday, according to the CDC.
The Navajo Nation reported 29,930 cases and 1,215 confirmed deaths in total as of Friday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. A stay-at-home order and nightly curfew remain in effect.
The Arizona Department of Corrections reported 12,058 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, including 2,242 in Tucson, 2,014 in Eyman, 2,010 in Yuma, 1,303 in Lewis and 1,163 in Douglas; 43,626 inmates statewide have been tested. A total of 2,712 prison staff members have self-reported testing positive, the department said. Forty-one incarcerated people in Arizona have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, with 14 additional deaths under investigation.
Race/ethnicity is unknown for 18% of all COVID-19 cases statewide, but 38% of positive cases have been diagnosed in white people, 30% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Native American, 3% Black and 1% Asian/Pacific Islander.
Of those who have tested positive in Arizona since the start of the pandemic, 16% were younger than 20, 44% were 20-44, 15% were 45-54, 12% were 55-64 and 13% were age 65 or older.
Laboratories have completed 3,916,293 diagnostic tests on unique individuals for COVID-19, 14.1% of which have come back positive. That number includes both PCR and antigen testing. The percentage of positive tests had increased since mid-May but began decreasing in July and held steady around 4% for several weeks, per the state. It was at 5% for the last full week. The state numbers leave out data from labs that do not report electronically.
The Arizona Department of Health Services includes probable cases as anyone with a positive antigen test, another type of test to determine current infection. Antigen tests (not related to antibody tests) use a nasal swab or another fluid sample to test for current infection. Results are typically produced within 15 minutes.
A positive antigen test result is considered very accurate, but there’s an increased chance of false-negative results, the Mayo Clinic says. Mayo Clinic officials say a doctor may recommend a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm a negative antigen test result.
Arizona as of Friday had the sixth-highest overall case rate in the country since Jan. 21, 2020. Ahead of Arizona in cases per 100,000 people since the pandemic began are North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah and Tennessee, according to the CDC.
Arizona’s infection rate is 11,410 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. The national average is 8,769 cases per 100,000 people, though the rates in states hard hit early in the pandemic may be an undercount because of a lack of available testing in March and April 2020.
Reported deaths in Arizona: 16,546
Deaths by county: 9,432 in Maricopa, 2,300 in Pima, 812 in Pinal, 809 in Yuma, 665 in Mohave, 512 in Navajo, 476 in Yavapai, 400 in Apache, 317 in Coconino, 274 in Cochise, 217 in Gila, 172 in Santa Cruz, 77 in Graham, 73 in La Paz and 10 in Greenlee.
People age 65 and older make up 12,403 of the 16,546 deaths, or 75%. Following that, 15% of deaths were in the 55-64 age group, 6% were 45-54 and 4% were 20-44 years old.
While race/ethnicity was unknown for 7% of deaths, 49% of those who died were white, 29% were Hispanic or Latino, 8% were Native American, 3% were Black and 1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, the state data show.
The global death toll as of Saturday morning was 2,634,979. The U.S. had the highest death count of any country in the world, at 532,151, according to Johns Hopkins University. Arizona’s death total of 16,546 deaths represents 3.1% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
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