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With 610 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 850,000 as of Tuesday, April 13, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 58 new cases today, has seen 113,822 of the state’s 850,846 confirmed cases.

With 19 new deaths reported this morning, a total of 17,105 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 2,373 deaths in Pima County, according to the April 12 report.

A total of 565 coronavirus patients were in the hospital as of April 11. That’s roughly 16% of the number hospitalized at the peak of the winter surge, which reached 5,082 on Jan. 12. The summer peak was 3,517, which was set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent lowest number of hospitalized COVID patients was 468, set on Sept. 27, 2020.

A total of 881 people visited emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on April 12. That number represents 38% of the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. That number had peaked during the summer wave at 2,008 on July 7, 2020; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28, 2020.

A total of 150 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on April 12, which roughly 13% of the record 1,183 ICU patients set on Jan. 11. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22, 2020.

UA urging students to start vaccinations by end of the week so they can get both shots before the end of the semester

The University of Arizona is encouraging students to get vaccinated before they travel outside of Pima County and, ideally, students should receive their first dose by Friday to be fully vaccinated come summer vacation, announced UA President Robert C. Robbins Monday morning.

“We want to vaccinate as many of our students as we can, prior to the end of the semester, with many students traveling out of state to return home for the summer, or to do programs outside of Pima County,” said Robbins. “We have a very limited window to administer the first dose for them to reach full vaccination before traveling, due to the wait time between doses.”

Last week, the university announced students could register for same-day vaccination appointments at either the student registration tent at the UA POD on Cherry Avenue open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., or the CAT Ambassador Team Tent on the Mall in front of the Student Union.

Robbins said when speaking to students on campus, they found many are hesitant to receive the vaccine or want to talk to their family or friends before making an appointment.

Robbins said when speaking to students on campus, they found many are hesitant to receive the vaccine or want to talk to their family or friends before making an appointment.

Faced with hundreds of unfilled appointments daily, the UA POD is looking to tackle the barriers faced due to vaccination hesitancy.

“The choice before you isn't just vaccine or no vaccine,” said Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, an associate professor of immunobiology in the College of Medicine who is leading the antibody test initiative at the university. "It's vaccine versus the chance of getting infected, then not only getting sick but then transmitting it to someone else who is at much higher risk."

He said the chance of a 25-year-old person dying from COVID-19 is one in 10,000, which he said sounds pretty good, but “I can guarantee you that if the vaccine caused one in 10,000 people to die, there is no chance it would be approved.”

Former U.S. surgeon general and UA Task Force Director Dr. Richard Carmona also asked the public if they remember polio, the measles, whooping cough or tetanus.

“These are all vaccinated diseases,” said Carmona. “Vaccines are arguably the most important discovery in science, in the history of mankind, because we've eradicated disease that is preventable, and this is just another disease that we're dealing with.

Pima County transitioning to indoor vaccination sites

As temperatures rise, Pima County officials are shifting to indoor vaccination sites to avoid making staff and volunteers endure long days in triple-degree temperatures.

Pima County opened a new indoor vaccine site yesterday at the Kino Event Center, where the county had earlier been doing COVID testing. That site is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Register at azdhs.gov.

The county has also opened an indoor vaccination POD at El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

The county is working with TMC to move their drive-thru POD to a walk-through site at the Udall Center at Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road, beginning April 19. Appointments can be made through register.vaccine.pima.gov.

The drive-through POD at Banner-South Kino Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way, will offer appointments between 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning April 17.

As of Monday, April 12, 360,655 people in Pima County had received at least one shot of the virus, accounting for 34.5% of the population. A total of 238,138 people were fully vaccinated.

Anyone 16 and older is now eligible for vaccination at Pima County or state PODs.

You can register for your vaccine appointments at a state POD by visiting pod vaccine.azdhs.gov, and those who need assistance can call 1-844-542-8201.

Register for an appointment at a Pima County POD at pima.gov/covid19vaccineregistration or by calling 520-222-0119.

Many local pharmacies are now receiving vaccine doses. To find one near you, visit the ADHS website.

Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing

Pima County is continuing to offer a number of testing centers and pop-up testing sites around town, including the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road. Schedule an appointment at pima.gov/covid19testing.

The University of Arizona’s antibody testing can determine if you have had COVID and now have antibodies. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.

—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Christina Duran, Jeff Gardner and Mike Truelsen