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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 Wednesday, Oct. 7.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 604 new coronavirus cases and 20 additional deaths on Wednesday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 222,538 COVID-19 infections and 5,733 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic are near the lowest they’ve been in months, although coronavirus-related hospitalizations have been creeping upward.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients was up to 681 on Tuesday, the most since Sept. 4.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds has increased overnight for seven consecutive days and was up to 147 on Tuesday. On Sept. 22, it was a pandemic-low 114.
The COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are far below the pandemic peaks of 3,517 inpatients and 970 patients in ICU beds, both recorded July 13.
Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing has been at 4% for each of the past five weeks, with 63,229 tests recorded last week.
It was 5% so far this week through 7,851 recorded tests.
The positivity rate, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, 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 the state health department’s newly reported cases was 535.71 through Tuesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, and has been relatively stable for the past week.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was at 11.57, the lowest since May 1.
The seven-day case average peaked at 3,844 on July 6, and the death average topped out at 94 on July 30.
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. All of Arizona’s counties have 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 Wednesday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
Globally, there were more than 35.8 million COVID-19 cases and 1.05 million deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 7.5 million cases and 211,000 deaths.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.