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Almost 2,300 new COVID cases in Arizona on Weds

There were another 2,286 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Arizona on Wednesday, with the number of new reported infections in the state topping 12,000 over the past six days.

As the Delta variant continues to spike, health officials have advised that everyone — even those who've been vaccinated — wear masks while indoors in public.

Those new reported infections came after about 10,000 new coronavirus cases in the state over the preceding five days, Arizona Department of Health Services data showed. 7 new deaths were reported Wednesday, with nearly 18,300 Arizonans now dead from the virus.

Following 1,965 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, another 2,066 cases were added to the count on Saturday, with another 2,306 reported infections on Sunday, and 1,846 new cases on Monday. Tuesday, there were another 1,974 cases reported.

Friday's daily case update was the largest increase since the beginning of March. Both Saturday and Sunday's additions were even larger.

18,289 Arizonans have died from COVID-19, with 7 additional deaths reported Wednesday. That follows 30 deaths reported Tuesday, and 52 more deaths added to the grim total from Friday through Monday.

The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID infections has also hit numbers not seen since the start of March, with more than 1,207 patients — more than double the number at the beginning of July, and an increase of 101 hospitalized patients since just Friday morning's count.

In Pima County, 2,463 people have died from the coronavirus, with 1 new death reported Monday.

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There have been more than 120,900 reported cases in the county — with 313 new confirmed infections reported Wednesday, after 129 cases on Tuesday. There were 148 new cases reported Monday, after 41 new cases on Sunday. Saturday, there were 241 new reported cases in Pima County. That followed 106 new confirmed infections on Friday, with 174 new cases Thursday, 114 new cases last Wednesday, and 58 new reports last Tuesday.

Across the state, there have been more than 935,000 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began last year, including the 2,286 new cases Wednesday.

In Pima County, one out of 426 residents has died from the virus, and health officials are "strongly recommending" that everyone wear face masks in public indoor settings — even those who've been fully vaccinated.

A new public health advisory from the Pima County Health Department is in line with the latest guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Local officials are moving to require all Pima County government employees to be vaccinated. On Wednesday, Tucson Unified School District joined others around the state in imposing a mask requirement in schools.

Along with an increase in overall COVID cases that falls under the CDC's "substantial transmission" metrics, the coronavirus outbreak here is beginning to infect children and reach into schools more than previously, Pima officials said.

In addition to the push for everyone to wear masks when inside public buildings if they cannot remain six feet away from others, the latest Pima advisory "strongly recommends that all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools wear masks indoors at all times during school regardless of vaccination status."

More than 95% of new confirmed coronavirus infections are in people who have not been vaccinated — including children under 12, who are not yet eligible to get the COVID shots. Breakthrough cases — cases in people who have been fully vaccinated — account for less than 0.1% of all cases, officials said.

Statewide, about 75% of the reported confirmed COVID-19 cases that are PCR tested to determine variants are being found to be the Delta version of the virus. In Pima County, which has been sequencing a random selection of about 15% of cases, with 41 shown to be the Delta variant and 359 to be the Alpha variant since May. But officials have cautioned that the widespread presence of Delta infections across the rest of the state, and the higher transmissibility of that type of the virus, means that the number of Delta cases here is bound to increase rapidly.'

Substantial' spread of COVID in Pima County

The county reached a "substantial" transmission level on July 19 after starting the month with a "moderate" number of cases, said Cullen. If Pima County continues to see the number of cases that it has over the past week it will see its transmission rate raised to "high" as is the case with Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, Gila, Mohave, Navajo and Apache counties.

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