Arizona hospitals still crowded despite fewer COVID-19 patients

Arizona hospitals remain crowded even as COVID-19 patient counts are dropping statewide while fewer additional confirmed infections and virus-related deaths are reported.

COVID-19 patients occupied only 22% of inpatient beds as of Feb. 16, down from a six-month high of 41% on Jan. 27, but inpatient beds overall remain nearly full because more non-COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 patients still account for about 70% of emergency room usage, the dashboard said.

As of Wednesday, 1,915 virus patients occupied inpatient beds, down from the six-month peak of 3,559 on Jan. 27.

Health officials have attributed continued hospital crowding to several factors besides the still-large numbers of COIVID-19 patients, many of whom require extended hospital stays. Those other factors include increases in people seeking health care with the slowing of the pandemic and the more serious conditions of some newly hospitalized patients who did not get care earlier.

Arizona on Thursday reported 209 additional COVID-19 deaths, one of the largest single-day increases in months, but the pace of reported additional deaths has slowed recently.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the state’s seven-day average of daily deaths decreased from 78.5 on Feb. 1 to 57.6 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the seven-day average of known daily new cases plunged from 12,434 to 3,634 during the same period. Those infection figures don’t include the results of many tests conducted at home.

The additional 209 deaths reported Thursday increased the state’s pandemic toll to 27,398.

According to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Arizona has the 11th most COVID-19 deaths among U.S. states and the third-highest rate of virus deaths per population.

MORE: Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers


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

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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