(Photo by Sergio Flores/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 Sunday, Aug. 16.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 883 new coronavirus cases and 14 additional deaths on Sunday morning.
That brought the state’s documented totals to 193,537 COVID-19 infections and 4,506 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 weeks.
The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases was 935.29 on Saturday, dipping under 1,000 for the first time since June 7, according to tracking by The Associated Press.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was 50.71, up from 48.86 previously.
The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been slowing in the weeks after the implementation of face mask requirements by local governments 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 6% for the 42,724 tests given and processed since Sunday that have been reported by the state.
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 Gov. Doug Ducey let Arizona’s stay-at-home order expire. 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 hospital data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations declined again Saturday, continuing a weekslong trend.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 1,208.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds fell to 417, the fewest since June 12.
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 remained several percentage points below the high marks seen a month ago.
Inpatient beds were 81% full on Saturday. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10.
The ICU occupancy rate decreased to 80%. 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.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.