PHOENIX - Arizona’s pandemic death toll on Thursday passed the grim milestone of 25,000 fatalities as hospitals statewide remained crowded with coronavirus patients.
The Department of Health Services reported 10 additional COVID-19 deaths, raising the pandemic’s death toll to 25,002.
The department acknowledged the milestone on Twitter while urging Arizonans to be "protective yourself and your community" by getting vaccinated, staying home if sick and wearing masks and distancing while indoors.
An 11-day string of daily increases ended as COVID-19-related hospitalizations dropped slightly, with 2,920 virus patients occupying inpatients as of Wednesday.
Arizona ranks 11th among U.S. states in total virus deaths and third, behind only New York and Mississippi, with 343 deaths per 100,000 of population, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Arizona passed 10,000 virus deaths last January during that winter’s surge and passed 20,000 fatalities in October amid the buildup of the current wave.
Fatalities continued to increase, with the state’s seven-day rolling average of daily deaths rising increasing over the past two weeks from 54.8 on Dec. 28 to 60.3 on Tuesday.
Arizona on Thursday also reported over 18,000 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases for the second straight day. Wednesday’s daily report of 18,783 additional cases was a pandemic high, though many infections confirmed by home testing aren’t included in public reporting.
The omicron variant spreads even more easily than other coronavirus strains, and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects those who have been vaccinated or had previously been infected by prior versions of the virus. However, early studies show omicron is less likely to cause severe illness than the previous delta variant, and vaccination and a booster still offer strong protection from serious illness, hospitalization and death.
Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ: azdhs.gov/coronavirus
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
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.
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.
More COVID-19 in Arizona news
- Arizona mask mandate being pushed by some community leaders amid omicron surge
- Arizona health officials say ‘mild’ omicron still a risk
- COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations reach new highs in Arizona
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