This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Dec. 10, 2020.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities on Thursday reported 4,928 new coronavirus cases with 73 additional deaths.
The state’s documented totals increased to 387,529 COVID-19 infections and 7,154 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Overall, multiple COVID-19 metrics in Arizona are at or approaching the highest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients was 3,408 on Wednesday. That’s a 48% increase since Thanksgiving, when it was 2,301, and the most since July 16.
The number of COVID-19 inpatients peaked July 13 at 3,517 and fell afterward as low as 468 on Sept. 27.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in ICU beds was 799 on Wednesday. That’s a 50% increase since Thanksgiving, when it was 532, and the most since July 28.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds peaked July 13 at 970 and fell afterward as low as 114 on Sept. 22.
Statewide, 39% of all inpatient beds and 46% of all ICU beds were filled with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients on Wednesday, levels last seen in July.
Overall, inpatient beds were 90% filled and ICU beds were 90% filled.
Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, reached its highest level in nearly five months last week at 18% for 156,574 tests.
As of Thursday, the positivity rate was 16% for the 5,409 tests recorded this week.
The rate peaked at 21% at the end of June and was down to 4% as recently as early October.
Official positivity rates are based on when the samples are taken, not when they are reported, so the percentage for recent weeks can fluctuate as labs get caught up on testing and the results are documented by the state.
The rolling seven-day average for the health department’s newly reported cases was at 5,946 for Wednesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, setting a record for the seventh consecutive day.
During the first wave of the pandemic in Arizona, when testing was less available than it is now, the seven-day case average peaked at 3,844 on July 6 and afterward fell as low as 373.14 on Sept. 12.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths is lagging behind the case numbers but has been surging recently. It was at 48.86 for Wednesday, a 86% increase since Thanksgiving and the highest since Aug. 17.
The seven-day death average peaked July 30 at 94 and fell afterward as low as 5.57 on Oct. 14.
The Arizona health department’s daily reports present case, death and testing data after the state receives statistics and confirms them, which can lag by several days or more. They don’t represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.
The hospitalization data posted each morning is reported electronically the previous evening by 100 hospitals across the state, as required under executive order.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has no impact on some people and is seriously debilitating or fatal for others. Infected people without symptoms — which include but are not limited to cough, fever and difficulty breathing — are capable of spreading the virus.
Information about testing locations can be found on the Arizona Department of Health Services website.
Below are Thursday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
- Just when the U.S. appears on the verge of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine, the numbers have become gloomier than ever: Over 3,000 American deaths in a single day, more than on D-Day or 9/11.
- Despite following COVID-19 protocol safety measures, the head of Arizona’s prison system told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that his agency can’t keep the virus out of correctional facilities.
- Three Arizona counties reentered the substantial spread status for COVID-19, which could mean certain businesses there will have to close again.
- Initial doses of the coronavirus vaccine in Phoenix won’t do much to stem the hospitalization capacity crisis, but they will keep front-line workers protected and the system rolling, Maricopa County’s top health official told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
- Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine faces one final hurdle as it races to become the first shot greenlighted in the U.S.: a panel of experts who will scrutinize the company’s data for any red flags.
- Banner Health’s chief clinical officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel said another coronavirus surge could put Banner hospitals at 120% capacity by Dec. 18.
- Arizona cities are responding to Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order regulating large public events.
- Arizona Health Director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that the shuttered St. Luke’s Hospital in Phoenix could be ready to accept coronavirus patients in a less than a week if needed.
- Globally, there were about 69.06 million COVID-19 cases and 1.57 million deaths as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University research. The figures for the U.S. were around 15.39 million cases and 289,000 deaths.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.