Arizona reports 1,698 new coronavirus cases, 87 additional deaths

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Wednesday, Aug. 5.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 1,698 new coronavirus cases and 87 additional deaths on Wednesday morning.

That brought the state’s documented totals to 182,203 COVID-19 infections and 3,932 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Wednesday’s case and death reports were the highest of the week, but many key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations, are the lowest they’ve been in weeks.

The seven-day average for newly reported cases was 2,081.57 on Tuesday, the lowest since June 19, according to tracking by The Associated Press.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths fell to 62.43, the lowest it’s been since July 14.

The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been slowing in the weeks after the implementation of face mask requirements in many areas — including all of Maricopa County — and statewide executive orders to close businesses such as bars and gyms and to restrict restaurant occupancy.

Those moves were made after the state became a global hot spot for the coronavirus, which 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.

Arizona’s weekly positive rate for diagnostic PCR tests, which indicates how much the virus is spreading, is on pace to fall for the fifth consecutive week. It was 8% for the 4,804 tests given and processed since Sunday that have been reported by the state.

The 11% positive rate for the 49,543 tests given and processed last week is the lowest seen since it was 9% the week starting May 24.

Weekly 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 backlogs.

The weekly positive rate was 5% in early May and started climbing after Arizona’s stay-at-home order expired. It peaked at 21% the week starting June 28.

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, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations declined Tuesday, continuing a weekslong trend after ticking up the previous day.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell below 2,000 for the first time in more than six weeks. The total of 1,945 was the lowest since June 20.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds fell to 618, the fewest since June 24.

COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out at 970 the same day.

Overall, Arizona inpatient and ICU bed usage rates remain on the low end of the range seen over the past two months.

Inpatient beds were 81% full Tuesday for the second consecutive day, matching the lowest percentage since June 8. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked July 9-10 at 88%.

The ICU occupancy rate dipped to 82% Tuesday, the lowest since June 15. It topped out at 91% on July 7.

Hospital bed data on the health department website does not include surge beds that have not been activated but can potentially increase capacity.

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

There were more than 18.5 million coronavirus cases and 701,000 deaths reported globally as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S., there were more than 4.7 million cases and 156,000 deaths.

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