Arizona starts new year with 2-day high of COVID-19 cases

On the second day of the new year, Arizona reported nearly 8,900 additional known COVID-19 cases, giving the state a two-day pandemic high for new cases.

Added to the 10,060 cases reported Friday, the 8,883 cases reported Saturday produced a two-day total of 18,943. The state’s previous two-day high was 17,649 on Dec. 13-14.

The statewide overall tally of cases since the pandemic began now stands at 539,150.

Arizona also reported 46 deaths on Saturday, increasing the pandemic’s total to 9,061.

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 had the second-worst COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, behind only California. The diagnosis rate is calculating by dividing the state’s population by the number of new cases over the past week.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

Hospital occupancy has surged during December due to the outbreak, and hospitals statewide remain nearly full, with only 7% of all inpatient beds available and not in use, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

There were 4,484 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Friday, down from the pandemic-high record of 4,564 on Wednesday, according to the dashboard.

COVID-19 patients were in three of every five intensive care beds statewide and about half of all hospital inpatient beds.

The crush of COVID-19 patients has caused some hospitals in metro Phoenix and Tucson areas to suspend elective surgeries and some have resorted to turning away patients being transported by ambulance or being transferred from other hospitals while still accepting walk-patients needing emergency care.

Hospital officials also have said the crush of COVID-19 patients may force imposition of triage protocols that the state could order to help hospitals decide how to decide which patients gets access to limited resources.

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus

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