Arizona reported about 1,400 new COVID-19 cases and 12 new known deaths Thursday as hospitalizations for the disease continued to rise to their highest levels since August.
The ongoing increase in cases and hospitalizations comes as Arizona’s health system is preparing for the pressures of a new COVID-19 wave as the situation worsens and as Thanksgiving approaches.
Identified COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose by 1,399 on Thursday to 266,562, and known deaths were at 6,240, according to the daily report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
New cases have eclipsed 1,000 for 14 of the past 17 days, with four of those days seeing more than 2,000 new cases for the first times since the state’s summer surge. The U.S. has been reporting record-high daily new cases.
The past several weeks have seen relatively higher daily case reports as the virus spreads at its fastest rate in Arizona since June, although case numbers are still below where they were during the summer peak.
New case rates in Arizona fall below the rates reported in 32 other states plus Guam, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker says. Cases are surging in North Dakota, where the new case rate per 100,000 people for the previous seven days was 170.5 as of Wednesday, the CDC reports. By comparison, Arizona’s rate was 26.5.
The increase in new COVID-19 cases in the summer was an early indicator of more hospitalizations and deaths in the weeks to come.
Gov. Doug Ducey, in an Oct. 29 COVID-19 briefing, said Arizonans “need to keep our guard up” but announced no new preventive measures, instead pointing to existing strategies such as restaurant capacity limits.
The number of patients hospitalized statewide for known or suspected COVID-19 cases was at 1,368 on Wednesday, the highest number reported since Aug. 12. At the peak of Arizona’s surge in July, the number of hospitalized patients suspected or confirmed to have the virus exceeded 3,000.
The number of patients with suspected or known COVID-19 in intensive care units across Arizona was at 331 on Wednesday, up from 309 on Tuesday and the most ICU beds in use in a single day since Aug. 23. The level is far below what it was in July, when ICU beds in use for COVID-19 reached 970.
The number of Arizonans with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 on ventilators was at 180 on Wednesday, the most ventilators in use in a single day since Aug. 25. In mid-July, as many as 687 patients across the state with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 were on ventilators.
Thursday’s dashboard shows 88% of inpatient beds and 87% of ICU beds in use, which includes people being treated for COVID-19 and other patients. COVID-19 patients were using 16% of all inpatient beds and 20% of ICU beds. Overall, 32% of ventilators were in use.