Arizona reports 5,442 additional COVID-19 cases, 82 deaths

Arizona on Dec. 3 reported 5,442 additional known COVID-19 cases, 82 more deaths and increased hospitalizations as the coronavirus surges in the state.

The additional deaths were the most reported in a single day since August but the state Department of Health Services said 46 resulted from reviews of past death certificates. It wasn’t immediately known whether those deaths occurred during the current surge this fall or earlier.

However, the pace of COVID-19-related deaths reported in Arizona has increased by 57% in the past two weeks.

According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, the seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in the state increased from 19.6 on Nov. 18 to 30.7 on Wednesday.

Reported daily deaths topped 100 on three days in August, including 104 reported on Aug. 26.

According to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, Arizona has reported totals of 346,421 known cases and 6,821 deaths.

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COVID-19-related hospitalizations across Arizona totaled 2,743 on Wednesday, up from 2,699 on Tuesday and including 642 patients in intensive care unit beds.

Hospital officials and public health experts have warned that the outbreak is on track to exceed the capacity of the state’s health care system this month unless more action is taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Doug Ducey has acknowledged the growing outbreak but declined to take several steps sought by advocates, including a statewide mask mandate. The governor has urged everyone to wear masks and called for better enforcements of existing restrictions on certain businesses and gatherings.

What you need to know: Gov. Ducey announces free COVID-19 vaccines for Arizonans, more funding for hospitals

As the state continues to see another surge in new COVID-19 cases, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey held a news conference on Dec. 2 to provide updates on the ongoing pandemic.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in Arizona rose in the past two weeks from 2,563 on Nov. 18 to 4,304 on Wednesday, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

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.

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

FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus

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.