PHOENIX - Arizona on Dec. 4 reported more than 5,000 new known COVID-19 cases for the second straight day as the current surge’s growing number of hospitalizations reduced the number of available intensive care unit beds below 10% statewide.
The Department of Health Services reported 5,680 additional known cases and additional 64 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 352,101 cases and 6,885 deaths.
Arizona on Thursday had reported 5,442 cases, which for 24 hours was the highest number of deaths reported in one day during the pandemic — except for the record 10,322 cases reported Tuesday, which officials say was inflated by holiday weekend reporting delays.
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Arizona’s cases, deaths and hospitalizations already were steadily rising before Thanksgiving, when health officials said gatherings and travel were expected to further spread the coronavirus.
The state’s coronavirus dashboard said only 9% of ICU beds were available Thursday as the share of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients reached 38%.
Hospital officials have said the outbreak will exceed hospital capacity this month.
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.
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
FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus
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.
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.