(KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross)

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. 14.

PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 902 new coronavirus cases and five additional deaths on Wednesday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 227,635 COVID-19 infections and 5,772 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic have dropped dramatically since peaking during the summer.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients rose to 711 on Tuesday, near the highest in the past month.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased by 17 to 163, the most since Sept. 13.

The hospitalization numbers are far below the pandemic peaks of 3,517 inpatients and 970 ICU patients, both recorded July 13.

Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing has been at 4% each of the past six weeks, with 76,817 tests recorded last week.

It was 6% this week as of Wednesday’s update, with 8,509 tests recorded.

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 at 685.71 through Tuesday, according to tracking by The Associated Press, falling slightly after increasing for eight consecutive days.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths ticked up slightly to 7.71, remaining near the lowest level since early in the pandemic.

The seven-day averages have fallen well below their peaks of 3,844 cases on July 6 and 94 fatalities 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 slowed after those steps were taken. All of Arizona’s counties have since hit benchmarks established by the health department that allow closed 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 38.22 million COVID-19 cases and 1.09 million deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The figures for the U.S. were around 7.86 million cases and 216,000 deaths.

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For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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