Arizona reports 4,134 new cases of coronavirus, 64 more deaths

(AP Photo / Alberto Pezzali)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for December 15, 2020.

PHOENIX – Health officials in Arizona reported 4,134 new coronavirus cases, 64 additional deaths and another record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday.

The state’s documented totals have risen to 424,382 COVID-19 infections and 7,422 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In general, multiple COVID-19 statistics in Arizona are at or near the highest they have ever been.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital patients in Arizona was Monday, the fourth consecutive record day, to 3,702.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in Arizona in ICU beds Monday was 863, the highest number since July 21 and 107 below the July 13 record of 970.

Statewide, 43% of all hospital beds and 49% of all IC beds were filled with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients Monday, numbers that have been rising steadily for about two months.

Overall, hospital beds were 90% full and IC beds were 91% full, a percentage that has remained relatively stable as hospitals are admitting fewer non-COVID patients.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic tests, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, is showing signs of leveling off after reaching its highest level in five months.

According to Tuesday’s report, the positivity rate for last week was 18%, the same as the week before.

The positivity rate peaked at 21% at the end of June and had fallen to 4% at the beginning of October.

Official positivity rates are based on when the samples are taken, not when they are reported, so the rate for the past few weeks may fluctuate as labs are testing and the results are documented by the state.

The seven-day moving average for the health department’s newly reported cases was a record high of 7,772.14 for Monday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, more than doubling from the July peak of the first wave.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths is behind the rate of cases, but is increasing this month. Monday was 58.29, more than doubling since December 1 to its highest level since August 12. The weekly death average peaked at 94 on July 30.

The Arizona Health Department’s Daily Reports present case, death, and testing data after the state receives and confirms statistics, which may lag several days or more. They do not reflect actual activity for the past 24 hours.

The hospitalization data posted each morning is reported electronically the night before by 100 hospitals across the state as required under executive order.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, does not affect some people and is seriously disabling or fatal for others. Infected people without symptoms – including but not limited to a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing – can spread the virus.

Information on testing sites can be found on the Arizona Department of Health Services website.

Below are Tuesday’s latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:

  • Hundreds of other US hospitals were ready to vaccinate their employees as federal regulators gave a positive assessment of a second COVID-19 vaccine needed to spur the nation’s largest vaccination campaign.
  • According to research from Johns Hopkins University, there were approximately 73.01 million COVID-19 cases and 1.62 million deaths on Tuesday morning worldwide. The figures for the US were about 16.52 million cases and 300,000 deaths.

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