Death toll from coronavirus in Arizona tops 4,000

The number of known coronavirus-related deaths in Arizona has now surpassed 4,000, health officials said on August 6.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported another 1,444 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 70 more deaths. This brings the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 183,647 and the death toll to 4,002.

Some of the fatalities were likely counted after health officials reviewed death certificates going back weeks.

Still, the news comes a day after Maricopa County public health officials confirmed 22 bodies were moved to portable storage coolers. The action was taken after the medical examiner’s office in metro Phoenix became 86% full, according to Robert Rowley, director of the county’s emergency management department. It’s a significant increase compared with the same time a year ago, he said.

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Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of disease control for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said the county has seen more deaths than usual since January. Those are likely to include people who were hesitant to seek care for other conditions. The upward trend in deaths will likely “sustain itself for at least the coming weeks,” Sunenshine said.

Overall, more than half of the COVID-19 related deaths have occurred in the state’s most populous county.

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On the positive side, statewide in-patient hospitalizations, ventilator usage and intensive care unit bed occupancy continue to show incremental decreases. But hospital ICU bed capacity remains high at 83%.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.

However, for some people who contract the virus, especially those who are older or have underlying health conditions, it can cause more severe illness and death.

The vast majority of people diagnosed with COVID-19 recover.

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

MAP: Worldwide interactive Coronavirus case data

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus

CDC: How coronavirus spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ

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.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

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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