FILE – In this Monday, May 25, 2020 file photo, a vial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate on a shelf during testing at the Chula Vaccine Research Center, run by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Refrigeration, cargo planes, and, above all, money: All risk being in short supply for the international initiative to get coronavirus vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Thursday, Oct. 1.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 705 new coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths on Thursday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 219,212 COVID-19 infections and 5,674 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
It was the highest daily case report since it was over 1,000 Sept. 17 and 18, when the state added batches of older results from a newly approved testing process. The previous high other than those days was 836 on Sept. 5.
Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic are near the lowest they’ve been in months, but some are ticking upward.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients increased to 620 on Wednesday, the most since it was 628 on Sept. 9.
That number has increased each of the past three days. It’s up 32% from Sunday’s 468, which was the fewest since April 8, the day AZDHS started reporting the data.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds was 122 on Wednesday, seven more than the previous day but just eight above the pandemic low mark.
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 percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing is on pace to be at 4% for the fifth consecutive week, with 17,014 tests recorded so far this week.
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 460.43 through Wednesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, well below the July 6 peak of 3,844.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was at 17.86 through Wednesday, the lowest since Sept. 16 and 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 Thursday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
Globally, there were more than 34 million COVID-19 cases and 1 million deaths as of Thursday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 7.2 million cases and 207,000 deaths.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.