2,000 more Az COVID cases, Pima County hits 'high' spread of infections
There were another 1,970 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona on Wednesday, with the number of new reported infections in the state hitting 17,000 over the past week. The spike in cases has seen the largest number of new infections in six months, with new case counts at levels not seen since the beginning of February, and Pima County hitting "high" levels of community spread.
There were 6 new deaths reported from the coronavirus, with 117 deaths over the last week, Arizona Department of Health Services data indicated. 18,406 Arizonans are now dead from the virus.
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.
The 272 new cases in Pima County reported last Friday were the highest daily total since February 10. Another 130 new cases were reported here Saturday, 247 on Sunday, 112 on Monday, 242 on Tuesday, and an additional 56 cases Wednesday.
Pima County finds itself with a such a sustained pace of new coronavirus infections that the CDC increased its assessment of the level of pandemic severity here from "substantial" to "high" rates of transmission this week.
New Arizona COVID cases
Last Friday's daily case update was the largest increase since the beginning of February.
Mondays have seen the lowest reports of new cases and deaths throughout the pandemic. ADHS figures are updated each morning, based on reports from hospitals and laboratories the previous day, but not all new cases precisely correspond with the date they are reported. Some new cases may not be included for 4-7 days, state health officials have said, with weekend reports typically lacking some of the latest cases.
Due to cases sometimes taking several days to be added to the county, due to testing and reporting delays between hospitals, laboratories and the Arizona Department of Health Services, last Monday's tally of new reported cases was 2,846, but the actual number of confirmed positive samples related to new cases collected that day was 3,102, state data showed.
The last time the daily case count was that high was February 2, ADHS data showed.
New Arizona COVID deaths
18,406 Arizonans have died from COVID-19, with the 6 additional deaths reported Wednesday.
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 1,500 patients — up from 1,380 hospitalized people at the start of the week, and nearly triple the number at the beginning of July, and an increase of 678 hospitalized patients in the past two weeks.
In Pima County, 2,468 people have died from the coronavirus, with 5 new reported deaths on Friday and additional deaths reported Saturday and Tuesday.
There have been more than 122,000 reported cases in the county, which is seeing the highest levels of new cases since early February.
Across the state, there have been more than 952,000 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began last year.
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.
Along with an increase in overall COVID cases that now falls under the CDC's "high transmission" metrics, the coronavirus outbreak here is beginning to infect children and reach into schools more than previously, Pima officials have 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.