PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona reported nearly 7,000 additional known COVID-19 cases on Dec. 11, the third highest number in one day since the pandemic began. The state’s virus-related hospitalizations neared a peak last seen during the state’s surge last summer.
The state reported 6,983 additional known cases and 91 known deaths, boosting the state’s totals to 394,512 cases and 7,245 deaths.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations as of Thursday reached 3,492, just short of the peak during last summer’s surge of 3,517 on July 13, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
The latest hospitalization figure was up from 3,408 on Wednesday and included 809 patients undergoing treatment in intensive care unit beds, according to the dashboard.
Available hospital beds statewide dropped to 9% on Thursday, down from 10% on Wednesday, according to the dashboard. Health officials in some parts of the state have said hospitals were full or nearly so.
Hospital officials and public health experts have warned that the continuing surge of COVID-19 cases will exceed the state’s health system’s capacity this month.
In an effort to halt the spread of the virus, the state has imposed various restrictions in effect that have closed and limited operations in some establishments, but Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has declined to order a statewide mask requirement or to impose new lockdowns as urged by public health advocates and others. Many local governments have imposed mask mandates and a few have set curfews.
The state’s top public health official, Dr. Cara Christ, continued to urge Arizona residents to wear masks, distance, wash their hands, avoid large gatherings and stay home when sick.
“With reliable vaccines on the horizon, there is hope. But for now we must continue to do all that we can to mitigate the spread of covid-19,” Christ, the state director of health services, said in a video message Thursday. “With more holidays coming, it’s a reason for all of us to be vigilant.”
The 6,983 additional cases reported Friday were below the record 12,314 reported Tuesday and the Dec. 2 report of 10,322 a figure that included data delayed by the Thanksgiving weekend.
Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers
According to data from Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project, seven-day rolling averages for new Arizona daily cases, daily deaths and daily averages of COVID-19 testing positivity all increased in the past two weeks.
The rolling average of daily new cases rose from 3,871.6 on Nov. 26 to 5,872.6 on Thursday while the average of new deaths rose from 26.3 to 47.6 and the testing positivity average rose from 8.9% to 24.1%.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
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