PHOENIX - Arizona began 2021 by reporting over 10,000 additional known COVID-19 cases as the state's death toll from the coronavirus passed 9,000 and the surge kept hospitals nearly full.
The additional 10,060 additional cases with 151 deaths reported Friday increased the state's totals since the pandemic started to 530,267 cases and 9,015 deaths, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard.
With COVID-19 patients occupying 61% of intensive care beds statewide and hospitals reporting only 7% of all inpatient beds not in use, the Department of Health Services urged people to be vigilant.
"#MaskUpAZ and physically distance around anyone who isn’t a member of your household," the department said on Twitter.
The state's seven-day rolling average of daily new COVID-19 cases declined from about 6,787 on Dec. 17 to about 5,698 on Thursday as the seven-day rolling average of daily deaths rose from 74.4 to 81.4, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project.
Arizona's hospital occupancy has surged during December, and Phoenix-based Banner Health, the state's largest hospital chain, said Wednesday that it had suspended elective surgeries to free up capacity for treating COVID-19 patients.
Also this week, some Banner hospitals were among those resorting to turning away patients being transported by ambulance or being transferred from other hospitals, while still accepting walk-in patients needing emergency care.
Arizona had the nation's fourth-highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, behind California, Tennessee and Rhode Island. The diagnosis rate is calculated by dividing a state's population by the number of new cases.
Arizona's mass vaccination program, like those of other states, has been slow to administer many of the doses received early on, and Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday ordered the Department of Health Services to establish a statewide distribution system. The state previously relied on county health departments to manage the program in their own areas.
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.
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.
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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