Arizona coronavirus toll tops 15,000 deaths, over 800,000 cases

Arizona reported COVID-19 pandemic totals of over 800,000 confirmed cases and more than 15,000 deaths, passing the two grim milestones on Feb. 17 after nearly 13 months since the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in the state.

The Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported 1,315 additional confirmed cases and 82 new deaths, increasing the state’s pandemic totals to 801,055 cases and 15,063 deaths.

Arizona was a national hot spot in both last summer’s surge and the larger one that began last fall, accelerated during the winter holidays and began declining in January.

The number of people occupying inpatient beds in Arizona peaked at 5,082 on Jan. 11 and dropped to 1,941 as of Tuesday. The summer surge’s hospitalization peak was 3,517 on July 13,

The numbers of daily new cases and daily deaths also continued to drop, with decreases in seven-day rolling averages in the past two weeks, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The rolling average of daily new cases dropped from 4,634.3 on Feb. 2 to 1,781.7 on Tuesday and the rolling average of daily deaths dropped from 130.6 to 99.3 during the same period.

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

The specimen for what turned out to be Arizona’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was collected Jan. 22, 2020, while the state’s first confirmed death from COVD-19 occurred nearly two months later on March 17, 2020, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

Going by dates when specimens were collected, the summer surge peaked June 29 with 5,477 additional confirmed cases and the current surge peaked Jan. 4 with 12,157 additional confirmed cases.

As with other states, Arizona is continuing to expand its vaccination system while pressing the federal government for additional doses.

Arizona on Thursday will open a third state-run vaccination site, a conversion and expansion of a Pima County site on the University of Arizona campus mall in Tucson. Registration for appointments at the new site began Tuesday.

Arizona previously opened two large state-run sites in metro Phoenix and there are county-run sites across the state.

Some local health departments had to cancel vaccination appointments for Wednesday and Thursday because of delayed delivery of doses due to winter weather, the Department of Health Services said late Tuesday.

However, there apparently were enough Pfizer doses available for state vaccination sites and other sites administering the Pfizer vaccine to maintain operations without interruption, department spokesman Steve Elliott said.

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


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

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ:

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

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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