PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona on Saturday reported more than 2,000 additional COVID-19 cases for the fourth straight day as the number of virus-related hospitalizations continued to rise.
The state’s coronavirus dashboard reported 2,653 additional cases and 34 deaths, increasing the pandemic totals to 943,415 cases and 18,376 deaths.
Daily demand for testing has nearly doubled in a month. The line of masked people in the parking lot is reminiscent of the car lots packed with people waiting to be tested for the virus last year.
"More middle school students than ever," said Jennifer Mayer with the Vincere Cancer Center.
With school back in session and the delta variant on the rise, COVID-19 testing has increased in the last 6 weeks.
Mayer said the lines for their health facility's mobile testing van have been growing for a while.
"We are seeing an increase in the positive number of patients with an increase in the total number of tests," Mayer said. "It is correlated."
In the last week of June, 6200 people received some sort of COVID test every day on average. Last week, it grew to nearly 10,000 a day.
Average number of COVID-19 tests per week (Arizona Dept. of Health Services)
While the testing has grown, so has the amount of people that have tested positive - from 6% in June to 14% last week.
Average percentage of positive tests per week (Arizona Dept. of Health Services)
With the Vincere Cancer Center's mobile truck alone, they soon expect 5 times the traffic.
"They are in here because it’s temperature sensitive," Mayer said. "We had 170 patients signed up, but that doesn’t include walk-up patients so over 200. And last year we were seeing 1,000 patients a day. So we do believe we’re going to see that number increase to 1,000 patients a day as well, especially during the holidays."
There were 1,358 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Friday, up from 866 two weeks earlier on July 23, according to the dashboard.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases nearly doubled over the past two weeks from 1,145,1 on July 22 to 2,227.6 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The rolling average of daily daily deaths more than doubled during the same period, rising from 6.3 to 16.9, Johns Hopkins data indicated.
While the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all increased in the past month, levels remain far below those of the surges last summer and winter.
Public health officials attribute the recent increases to the highly contagious delta variant and lagging vaccination rates.
The Arizona dashboard reported that roughly 53.2% of the state’s population has been vaccinated, with administration of 12,683 additional doses reported Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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