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3,100 more Az COVID infections Friday; 216 in Pima County as Delta wave continues

20,600 new confirmed Arizona coronavirus cases, 126 deaths in past 7 days

There were another 3,109 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona on Friday, making for nearly 20,600 in the past week — with 126 deaths. Pima County, with 216 new cases, has had more daily cases than at any point in the past seven months as another pandemic wave continues to grow.

The new Arizona cases followed 3,546 new reported infections on Thursday — after 2,402 new reported cases Wednesday, 2,661 on Tuesday, 2,400 Monday, 3,052 on Sunday, 3,418 Saturday, 3,225 Friday and 2,970 last Thursday — which was 1,000 more than the previous day.

There have been almost 20,600 new reported coronavirus infections in the state in the past seven days.

In Pima County, the 216 new reported COVID cases Friday came after 401 new reports Thursday, 262 new cases Wednesday, after 171 new cases were reported in Pima County on Tuesday, following 175 on Monday, 295 on Sunday, 299 Saturday, and 272 last Friday, as both the state and county had the highest daily figures since the beginning of February.

Pima County is continuing to see "high" rates of community spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The county Health Department issued a new public health advisory Tuesday, saying that local hospitals are "stretched thin" and seeking federal assistance to deal with the "unprecedented surge" in COVID cases and other admissions.

It is "critical" that residents "understand the threat that COVID-19 and decreased hospital capacity poses to the public’s health and safety," county health officials said. "We have seen a threefold increase in the number of cases in the past two weeks, which requires an urgent community-wide response to protect the public’s health."

There were 53 new deaths reported Friday from the coronavirus, with 126 deaths over the past seven days, Arizona Department of Health Services data indicated. 6 of the newly reported deaths were Pima County residents. 18,561 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.

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The 401 new cases in Pima County reported Thursday were the highest daily total since February 2.

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 earlier this month.

"In Pima County at this time, the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant has become the dominant strain and is up to six times more contagious than other strains," officials said in a new Pima public health advisory issued Tuesday.

New Arizona COVID cases

Day New Cases7-Day Rolling Average
Fri 8/20 3,1092,941
Thurs 8/19 3,5462,958
Weds 8/18 2,4022,875
Tues 8/17 2,6612,814
Mon 8/16 2,4002,801
Sun 8/15 3,0522,773
Sat 8/14 3,4182,714
Fri 8/13 3,2252,604
Thurs 8/12 2,9702,547
Weds 8/11 1,9702,450
Tue 8/10 2,5822,495
Mon 8/9 2,1912,408
Sun 8/8 2,6392,359
Sat 8/7 2,6532,311
Fri 8/6 2,8262,228
Thurs 8/5 2,289
Weds 8/4 2,286
Tue 8/3 1,974
Mon 8/2 1,846
Sun 8/1 2,306
Sat 7/31 2,066

"A growing number of younger and middle-aged people are being hospitalized with COVID-19," Pima officials said. "In addition to the growing number of cases in school settings, Pima County is seeing increasing numbers of pediatric cases where COVID illness is seriously affecting young children. This has resulted in more children being seen in emergency rooms due to COVID-19 illness, as well as for other reasons including lung and respiratory infections (RSV)and flu."

Earlier this month, the August 6 daily case update was the largest statewide increase since the beginning of February, when there were about 300 new reported cases each day in the county, and about 2,200 daily across the state. Last week saw even larger daily case counts, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday each topping 3,000 across Arizona. The 3,835 cases reported on February 1 were the last time the daily report was more than 2,900.

New Pima County COVID cases

Day New Cases7-Day Rolling Average
Fri 8/20 216260
Thurs 8/19 401268
Weds 8/18 262253
Tues 8/17 171223
Mon 8/16 175233
Sun 8/15 295224
Sat 8/14 299218
Fri 8/13 272193
Thurs 8/12 295193
Weds 8/11 56160
Tue 8/10 242197
Mon 8/9 112181
Sun 8/8 247186
Sat 8/7 130156
Fri 8/6 272153
Thurs 8/5 62
Weds 8/4 313
Tue 8/3 129
Mon 8/2 148
Sun 8/1 41
Sat 7/31 106

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, the initial tally for Monday, August 2, of new reported cases was 2,846, but the actual number of confirmed positive samples related to new cases collected that day was 3,136, the most recent state data showed.

The last time the total daily case count was that high was February 1, ADHS data showed.

New Arizona COVID deaths

18,561 Arizonans have now died from COVID-19. One new death in Pima County was reported Thursday, with 6 more added on Friday.

Day Deaths Reported
Fri 8/20 53
Thurs 8/19 4
Weds 8/18 37
Tues 8/17 3
Mon 8/16 -
Sun 8/15 2
Sat 8/14 27
Fri 8/13 23
Thurs 8/12 6
Weds 8/11 6
Tue 8/10 12
Mon 8/9 -
Sun 8/8 12
Sat 8/7 34
Fri 8/6 42
Thurs 8/5 11
Weds 8/4 7
Tue 8/3 30
Mon 8/2 1
Sun 8/1 5
Sat 7/31 22

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 1,800 patients in hospitals Wednesday — up from 1,380 hospitalized people at the start of the previous week, and more than triple the number at the beginning of July, when there were about 500 hospitalized coronavirus patients in Arizona.

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"Area hospitals, across the board, have severe nursing workforce shortages due to high rates of turnover and burnout from the pandemic," Pima County Health Department officials said. "Local hospitals are being forced to rely on travelling nursing staff to ensure adequate clinical services."

"Due to the increased demand for hospital beds, Pima County’s hospital capacity is now stretched very thin — creating a growing cause for concern. PCHD is actively assisting area hospitals to request federal assistance to address the healthcare workforce shortages and alleviate decreased surge capacity," officials said.

"Area hospitals are experiencing more people presenting to the ER who are sick for reasons other than COVID-19 such as heart attacks, RSV and sepsis, who require hospital admission," Pima officials said Tuesday. "This is putting significant pressure on critical health care resources. Currently, there is very limited availability of ICU beds as well as adult medical-surgical beds across the area hospitals. Local hospitals are also experiencing abnormally long wait times for EMS to be able to transfer care of their patient to the hospital staff. When this happens, EMS crews remain out of service and are unable to respond to other emergencies."

In Pima County, 2,479 people have died from the coronavirus, with 6 new reported deaths Friday.

There have been more than 124,000 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 979,000 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.

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 a public health advisory from the Pima County Health Department "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.

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Stop the spread

The Pima County Health Department asks the public to help stop community spread of COVID-19 by taking the following steps:

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu
  • Wear a mask when indoors, at schools and in public places
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Limit gathering in public spaces
  • Limit travel that is not essential
  • Get tested if you have COVID-like symptoms
  • Isolate for 10 days from others if you test positive
  • Quarantine if you are exposed to someone who tests positive

The Last Best Shot

Editor's note: TucsonSentinel.com is one of dozens of news organizations around the country that are noted for reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, and participating in "The Last Best Shot," an effort led by The Boston Globe to combat COVID-19 vaccination disinformation.

We have a clear choice. We can mark the start of a future in which COVID is relegated to little more than a nuisance, or we can watch the disease spiral further out of our grasp. Nearly 18 months after the pandemic shuttered much of the world, we are still in a state of uncertainty, one that threatens to steal yet another season and kill people who don't need to die.

The Last Best Shot reporting being published by the Sentinel and more than 50 outlets around the nation is meant to reinforce a simple fact: The only way out is vaccination. For every eligible person. Now.

See all of the #LastBestShot stories on the Sentinel here, and all of our coronavirus reporting here.