Arizona reports nearly 3,000 more coronavirus cases, 10 deaths

Arizona reported nearly 3,000 additional known COVID-19 cases on Nov. 17 as deaths, hospitalizations and testing positivity also rose and the state’s top education official said tougher virus prevention steps are needed.

The state reported 2,984 new cases with 10 additional deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 279,896 cases and 6,312 deaths.

The Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard showed the number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 reached 1,624 as of Monday, including 385 patients in intensive care unit beds.

“The numbers are starting to skyrocket,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Monday.

Hoffman, a Democrat, urged a statewide mask mandate and new quarantine and testing requirements for seasonal visitors. She also called for a pause of winter sports, expanded outdoor dining and limits on social gatherings.

The state had approximately 3,500 hospitalizations on a daily basis in mid-July during the peak of last summer’s surge but fewer than 500 some days in late September before the latest rise started.

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Seven-day rolling averages of new daily cases, daily deaths and testing positivity rose over the past two weeks, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins University analyzed by The Associated Press.

The average jumped from 1,311 on Nov. 2 to 2,459 on Monday while the death average went from 15.3 to 19.7 during the same period as the positivity average went from 11.8% to 16.5%.

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.

Health officials have said the state’s recent surge is tied to factors including businesses and schools reopening and public fatigue with precautions such as mask-wearing.

Many local governments have imposed mask requirements but Hoffman said in media interviews Monday that policies implemented so far by the state don’t seem to be halting spread of the coronavirus.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego urged Gov. Doug Ducey to issue a statewide mask in a tweet on Nov. 17.

A statement from Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, cited a “strong working relationship” with Hoffman and the Department of Education on COVID-19 matters and said Ducey’s administration would “continue working together to prioritize safety and our kids.”

In another development, the Arizona Interscholastic Association announced Monday that its top administrator has recommended that its board delay the start of high school winter sports competition until January.

Winter sports include basketball, soccer and wrestling.

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

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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.