Arizona reports 233 new COVID-19 cases, hospitalization trend continues decline

Stephanie Innes Arizona RepublicPublished 2:14 PM EDT Sep 21, 2020Arizona reported 233 new COVID-19 cases and

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Arizona reported 233 new COVID-19 cases and two new known deaths Monday, and the number of patients hospitalized with the novel virus remained continued an overall decline.

Identified cases rose to 214,251 and known deaths totaled 5,478, according to the daily report by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The number of patients hospitalized statewide for known or suspected COVID-19 was 472 Sunday for a second day in a row. Before the weekend, the last time that total was lower than 500 was April 8, state data shows. During the peak of Arizona's COVID-19 surge, the number of hospitalized patients suspected or confirmed to have the virus exceeded 3,000.

Similarly, the number of patients with suspected or known COVID-19 in intensive care units across Arizona was 119 on Sunday, down from 120 on Saturday — a considerable decrease from July when the numbers reached as high as 970.

Arizona's COVID-19 death total is the 11th highest of any state in the country, Johns Hopkins University says. New York has had the highest death toll — 33,087.

The COVID-19 death rate in Arizona was 76 per 100,000 people as of Sunday, the Centers for Disease and Prevention reported, putting it 10th in the country in a state ranking that separates New York City and New York state. New York City has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the country, the CDC says, at 283 deaths per 100,000 people.

Behind New York City, the CDC places the highest death rates ahead of Arizona (in order) as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Mississippi, the District of Columbia and New York state.

The Arizona Department of Health Services is including as probable cases anyone with a positive antigen test, another type of test to determine current infection. Antigen tests (not related to antibody tests) are a newer type of COVID-19 diagnostic test that use a nasal swab or other fluid sample to test for current infection. Results are typically produced within 15 minutes.

Monday's dashboard shows 79% of inpatient beds and 77% of ICU beds in use on Sunday, which includes people being treated for COVID-19 and other patients. COVID-19 patients were using 7% of all inpatient beds and 7% of ICU beds. Overall, 22% of ventilators were in use.

The number of weekly tests conducted dropped significantly in July and into August, after which it has remained flatter with slight decreases.

Of known test results from the past four weeks, 4% to 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 6.3% and shows it has generally trended downward in recent weeks but has reached a plateau.

A positivity rate of 5% is considered a good benchmark that the spread of the disease is under control.

What you need to know about Monday's new numbers:

  • Reported cases in Arizona: 214,241.
  • Cases increased by 233, or 0.11%, from Sunday's 214,018 identified cases since the outbreak began.
  • Cases by county: 140,006 in Maricopa, 24,647 in Pima, 12,580 in Yuma, 10,375 in Pinal, 5,747 in Navajo, 3,895 in Mohave, 3,749 in Coconino, 3,451 in Apache, 2,820 in Santa Cruz, 2,480 in Yavapai, 1,881 in Cochise, 1,233 in Gila, 793 in Graham, 535 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 10,107 cases and 548 confirmed deaths as of Saturday. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
  • The Arizona Department of Corrections said 2,550 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, including 963 in Tucson; 39,495 inmates have been tested; 45 total test results are pending in the state prison system. Fourteen incarcerated people have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, with 14 additional deaths under investigation. 
  • Reported deaths: 5,478 known deaths. 
  • On Monday, two new deaths were reported, although some may have occurred days and weeks prior. 
  • County deaths: 3,262 in Maricopa, 615 in Pima, 344 in Yuma, 232 in Navajo, 222 in Mohave, 204 in Pinal, 163 in Apache, 133 in Coconino, 79 in Yavapai, 69 in Cochise, 63 in Santa Cruz, 51 in Gila, 24 in Graham, 15 in La Paz and fewer than three in Greenlee.
  • People aged 65 and older made up 3,903 of the 5,476 deaths, or 71%.
  • While race/ethnicity is unknown for 11% of deaths, 42% of those who died were white, 31% were Hispanic or Latino, 11% were Native American, 3% were Black and 1% were Asian/Pacific Islander.

Arizona Republic reporter Alison Steinbach contributed to this report.

Reach health care reporter Stephanie Innes at or at 602-444-8369. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieinnes.

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