(Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates on the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Wednesday, September 23.
This brought the state’s documented totals to 215,284 COVID-19 infections and 5,525 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Multiple key metrics on the severity of the Arizona pandemic, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations, are at or near lows in months.
The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Arizona increased for the second consecutive day to 583 on Tuesday, the highest since last Wednesday.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds, however, dropped to a record low of 114.
COVID-19 hospitalized patients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds peaked at 970 on the same day.
Overall, on Tuesday the inpatient beds were 80% full, 1 point higher than the previous day. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10.
The intensive care employment rate was 78% for the second consecutive day. The ICU employment rate reached 91% on 7 July.
The hospital bed data on the health department website does not include surgical beds that have not been activated but can potentially increase capacity.
Arizona’s weekly positivity rate for COVID-19 diagnostic tests has been 4% for the past three weeks, but so far this week is 5% with 7,624 tests processed.
The positive rate had been 20% at the end of June.
Weekly rates are based on when samples are taken, not when they are reported, so the percentage for the last few weeks can vary as labs get involved in testing and results are documented by the state.
Daily reports from the Arizona Department of Health feature cases, deaths, and test data after the state receives the statistics and confirms them, which can be delayed by several days or more. They do not represent actual activity over the past 24 hours.
The hospital data published every morning, on the other hand, are reported the previous evening by the hospitals.
As cases skyrocketed in June, local governments in many parts of Arizona, including all of Maricopa County, implemented facemask requirements, and Governor Doug Ducey issued statewide executive orders. to close some businesses and limit the occupation of restaurants.
The spread of COVID-19 has soon slowed and has been steadily declining since the peak of the pandemic. Much of the state has met health department benchmarks that allow some businesses to reopen under capacity restrictions and other regulations.
As part of a shock caused by last week’s addition of a recently cleared diagnostic testing process, the seven-day moving average for newly reported cases increased to 805.29 through Tuesday’s update, according to monitoring. Associated Press, the highest since Aug.19 but well below the July 6 peak of 3,844.
The seven-day average of recently reported deaths dropped to 22, higher than last week but well below the July 30 peak of 94.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has no impact on some people and is severely debilitating or fatal for others. Infected people without symptoms – which include but are not limited to cough, fever, and difficulty breathing – are able to spread the virus.
Below are the latest developments on Wednesday on the coronavirus pandemic across the state, the country and the world: