Arizona reports over 5,000 new known virus cases for 7th day

Arizona on Dec. 23 reported at least 5,000 new known coronavirus infections for the seventh straight day as the state’s current surge continued to set pandemic-high records for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The state coronavirus dashboard reported a record 4,163 inpatients being treated for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, including a record 972 in intensive care unit beds. The 673 patients using ventilators neared the record of 687 set July 16 during the summer surge.

Only 8% of all hospital beds and 7% of adult intensive care unit beds were not in use and available statewide, according to the dashboard.

The state reported 6,058 new known COVID-19 cases and 54 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 473,273 cases and 8,179 deaths.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Arizona ranks among the states with the most spread of the coronavirus. It has the fourth-highest rate of new cases per capita in the past 14 days and the fifth-highest diagnosis rate over the past week.

Arizona’s seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases and daily deaths both increased over the past two weeks while the state’s rolling average of COVID-19 testing positivity decreased, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project.

The rolling average of daily new cases rose from 5,859.7 on Dec. 8 to 6,119 on Tuesday as the rolling average of daily deaths rose from 40.9 to 100.4 and the rolling average of testing positivity dropped from 20% to 13.6%.

In other developments, hospital officials in Mohave County said the coronavirus surge in that part of northwestern Arizona was straining the health care system, not only due to the growing number of patients but also because many infected people were hospital staff members, Today’s News-Herald reported.

"What that indicates is the surge is real, and we are seeing many more covid-positive patients. That has now transitioned into our own staff from a community spread perspective," said Kingman Regional Medical Center CEO Will McConnell. "Essentially this month we have had 96 staff members test positive - 47 in the last week. About 40 percent of that is bedside support - nurses, nursing assistant and those kinds of people. That has put a little bit of a strain relative to the staffing component."

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus

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