Arizona coronavirus hospitalizations go down, 134 more deaths

The number of people hospitalized in Arizona for treatment of coronavirus infections is still on a slight downward trend but deaths remain high as officials review death certificates and attribute more deaths to the virus, authorities said on July 21.

The state Department of Health Services reported 3,500 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 134 deaths.

Arizona since the pandemic began has reported 148,683 confirmed cases of virus infections and 2,913 virus deaths.

The number of in-patient hospitalizations, intensive care bed occupancy and ventilator use due to COVID-19 were about the same or slightly lower than the previous day, the health services department said.

Arizona hospitals were at 83% capacity, with 85% of their ICU beds filled, the department said.

Arizona became a national COVID-19 hotspot, with some of the highest U.S. rates of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, after Gov. Doug Ducey lifted a stay-at-home order in mid-May. He later reimposed some restrictions.

Arizona Gov. Ducey limits indoor dining at restaurants to less than 50% capacity amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Governor Doug Ducey is holding a news conference on July 9 at 3 p.m. as Arizona’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak topped 2,000 and state health officials reported new highs for COVID-19 hospitalizations and use of ventilators.

The number of infections in Arizona and elsewhere is thought to be much higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The state’s daily record for virus-related deaths is 147. Officials have said recent high daily death reports have emerged because of the reviews of death certificates that resulted in more of them being classified as virus related.

In other developments: Salt River Project electrical utility is extending its ban on disconnecting service during the pandemic to Oct. 1. The utility, which serves more than 2 million people in central Arizona, began the moratorium back on March 16. It hopes to work out appropriate payment plans with households experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Late payment fees will resume Aug. 1 except for customers on economy price plans.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

MAP: Worldwide interactive Coronavirus case data

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

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CDC: How coronavirus spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ: azdhs.gov/coronavirus

On CoronavirusNOW.com, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.

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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

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