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311 new cases, no new known deaths

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COVID-19 (Photo: Irina Shatilova, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Arizona reported just over 300 new COVID-19 cases Monday and no new known deaths as the state’s daily numbers, from cases to hospitalizations, continue to improve. 

Inpatient hospitalizations, ICU beds in use, ventilators in use and ER visits for COVID-19 have all been on general downward trends over the past five to six weeks, according to hospital data reported to the state. 

Identified cases rose to 198,414 and known deaths totaled 4,771, according to the daily report by the Arizona Department of Health Services. No new known deaths were reported Monday, although the health department typically reports relatively few deaths on Mondays.

While metrics from daily case counts to infection and hospitalization rates are moving in the right direction, Gov. Doug Ducey recently told Arizonans it’s too soon to let their guard down and take a “victory lap.”

“Returning our kids to the classroom, reuniting with our loved ones —  all of these depend on continued responsible behavior,” Ducey said Thursday. “I urge everyone to stay the course.”

Monday’s dashboard shows 81% of inpatient beds and 79% of ICU beds in use, which includes people being treated for COVID-19 and other patients. COVID-19 patients are using 11% of all inpatient beds and 21% of ICU beds. Overall, 28% of ventilators were in use.

Most people who get the disease are not hospitalized. The state does not report the number of recovered cases, although it does report hospital discharges.

For much of the pandemic, testing did not keep up with the virus’ spread, but the state worked to expand testing and reduce results turnaround time, which had been up to two weeks or longer for some tests. Sonora Quest, the state’s largest test processor, reports it has cleared its backlog of tests and is returning most results within about two days.

The number of weekly tests conducted dropped significantly in July and into August. 

Of known test results from last week, 5% have come back positive, according to the state, which has a unique way of calculating percent positivity. Johns Hopkins University calculates Arizona’s seven-day moving average of percent positives at 7.8% and shows it is trending downward. A positivity rate of 5% is considered a good benchmark that the spread is under control. 

Here’s what you need to know about Monday’s new numbers.

Reported cases in Arizona: 198,414

  • Cases increased by 311, or 0.16%, from Sunday’s 198,103 identified cases since the outbreak began.
  • County cases: 131,962 in Maricopa, 20,535 in Pima, 12,072 in Yuma, 9,211 in Pinal, 5,496 in Navajo, 3,500 in Mohave, 3,301 in Apache, 3,249 in Coconino, 2,745 in Santa Cruz, 2,249 in Yavapai, 1,795 in Cochise, 1,076 in Gila, 669 in Graham, 495 in La Paz and 58 in Greenlee, according to state numbers.
  • The rate of cases per 100,000 people is highest in Yuma County, followed by Santa Cruz County, Navajo and Apache counties.
  • The Navajo Nation reported 9,531 cases and 489 confirmed deaths as of Friday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
  • The Arizona Department of Corrections said 1,813 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, including 818 in Tucson; 23,983 inmates have been tested out of a population of about 39,100. Eleven incarcerated people have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, with 14 additional deaths under investigation. 
  • While race/ethnicity is unknown for 35% of cases, 30% of cases are Hispanic or Latino, 23% of cases are white, 6% are Native American and 3% are Black.
  • Laboratories have completed 1,155,629 diagnostic tests for COVID-19, 13% of which have come back positive. The percentage of positive tests had increased since mid-May but began decreasing in July. It was 5% for tests that have come back so far from last week, and 6% from the week prior, according to state numbers, which leave out data from labs that do not report electronically.

Reported deaths: 4,771 known deaths 

  • No new known deaths were reported on Monday, although Mondays often see few new deaths reported.
  • County deaths: 2,790 in Maricopa, 551 in Pima, 304 in Yuma, 216 in Navajo, 195 in Mohave, 177 in Pinal, 148 in Apache, 122 in Coconino, 76 in Yavapai, 56 in Cochise, 55 in Santa Cruz, 43 in Gila, 22 in Graham, 14 in La Paz and fewer than three in Greenlee.
  • People aged 65 and older made up 3,411 of the 4,771 deaths, or 71%.
  • While race/ethnicity is unknown for 12% of deaths, 41% of those who died were white, 30% were Hispanic or Latino, 11% were Native American and 3% were Black.

Hospitalizations continue six weeks of downward trends

  • Inpatients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 were at 908 on Sunday, continuing six weeks of a steady downward trend. Hospitalizations surpassed 3,000 daily for much of July, dropping below 1,000 inpatients on Saturday for the first time since late May. 
  • ICU bed use for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients was at 345 beds on Sunday, up slightly from Saturday’s 329 beds in use but still below last week’s numbers. Occupied beds have seen gradual decreases over the past six weeks.
  • Ventilator use for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients was at 176 on Sunday, about the same level of ventilators in use as in mid-April. The metric dropped below 200 Saturday for the first time since late May. Ventilators in use have generally been declining for more than five weeks. A record high 687 ventilators in use was hit on July 16.
  • Emergency department visits for patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 was at 896 on Sunday. Generally, with a few exceptions, daily ER visits are trending downward. Daily ER visits surpassed 1,000 on June 16 and were above that level nearly every day since, until daily ER visits dropped below 1,000 on Aug. 9. Since then, the number has hovered around 1,000 or just below.
  • The number of patients with suspected and confirmed positive COVID-19 discharged from hospitals was at 194 patients discharged on Sunday. July saw relatively high discharge numbers, which have since been generally decreasing.

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

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