The Department of Health Services also reported 19 additional deaths due to the coronavirus outbreak as the overall death toll rose to 6,384. The state’s case total increased to 287,225.
Arizona last topped 4,000 new cases in July during a summer surge that made the state a national hot spot after Gov. Doug Ducey relaxed business closings and stay-home restrictions.
Arizona’s outbreak lessened in August and September after local governments implemented masking mandates and Ducey instituted restrictions on some businesses.
The virus surged again in October and into November, with over 41,000 new cases reported since Nov. 1. State and public health officials cite school and business reopenings and public weariness with anti-virus precautions.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to increase, with just under 1,800 reported as of Wednesday. That is about three times as many as the state had in September and about half as many as at the summer surge’s peak.
Ducey on Wednesday warned that coronavirus cases are increasing at an alarming rate but the Republican governor stopped short of implementing any major new virus prevention restrictions or imposing a statewide mask mandate, as Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman have urged.
“I want people to wear masks. Masks work,” Ducey said during a COVID—19 briefing. He noted that about 90% of the state’s population is already under mask mandates imposed by county and local officials.
Ducey said a statewide mandate was not necessary but that the state would issue an emergency order for wearing masks in schools and on school buses, provide COVID-19 tests at airports in Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson, and allocate $25 million to bolster hospital staffing.
The steps taken so far by Ducey in response to the current surge won’t keep Arizona from experiencing a hospital space crisis in December, former state Department of Health Services said in a blog post. “Get ready folks.”
The number of reported 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.
According to data from The COVID Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins University analyzed by The Associated Press, rolling seven-day averages of daily new cases and testing positivity rate in Arizona rose over the past two week while the average for daily deaths declined.
The average of daily new cases rose from 1,353 on Nov. 4 to 2,563 on Wednesday as the testing positivity average went from 11.7% to 16.2%. and the daily deaths average went from 22 to 20.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Associated Press reporter Bob Christie contributed from Phoenix.
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.
- Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers
- Coronavirus: Symptoms, testing and how to prepare amid growing COVID-19 outbreak
- How coronavirus differs from flu: Symptoms to watch for
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.
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