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This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Friday, Sept. 25.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 518 new coronavirus cases and 28 more deaths on Friday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 216,367 COVID-19 infections and 5,587 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations, are at or near the lowest they’ve been in months.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 521 on Thursday, among the fewest since early April.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds dipped to 119, the second-lowest mark recorded during the pandemic.
COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out at 970 the same day.
Arizona’s weekly positive rate for COVID-19 diagnostic testing is on pace to be at 4% for the fourth consecutive week, with 27,588 tests completed this week.
The positive rate had been as high as 20% at the end of June.
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 and the results are documented by the state.
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.
The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases dropped by about 170 to 598.86 through Thursday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, the lowest since a backlog of results from a recently authorized diagnostic testing process were reported last week.
The seven-day average of newly reported cases peaked at 3,844 on July 6.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was relatively steady at 21.43 through Thursday, well below the July 30 peak of 94.
As cases skyrocketed in June, local governments in many parts of Arizona — including all of Maricopa County — implemented face mask requirements, and Gov. Doug Ducey issued statewide executive orders to close certain businesses and restrict restaurant occupancy.
The spread of COVID-19 soon slowed and has been steadily falling since the peak of the pandemic. Much of the state has hit benchmarks established by the health department that allow certain businesses to reopen under capacity restrictions and other regulations.
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.
Below are Friday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
Researchers at the University of Arizona will enlist more than 4,000 essential workers to study how long coronavirus immunity lasts.
Globally, there were more than 32.2 million COVID-19 cases and 983,000 deaths as of Friday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 6.9 million cases and 202,000 deaths.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.