With more than 7,200 new cases reported today, the number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases closed in on 575,000 as of Wednesday, Jan 6, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Pima County, which reported 659 new cases today, has seen 76,243 of the state’s 574,680 confirmed cases.
A total of 9,444 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 1,142 deaths in Pima County, according to the Jan. 6 report.
The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide continues to soar as the virus has begun to spread more rapidly, putting stress on Arizona’s hospitals and surpassing July peaks. ADHS reported that as of Jan. 5, a record 4,877 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state. The summer peak of 3,517 hospitalized COVID patients was set on July 13; that number hit a subsequent low of 468 on Sept. 27, or less than a tenth of the current count.
A total of 2,253 people visited emergency rooms on Jan. 5 with COVID symptoms, down from the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29. That number had previously peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.
A total of 1,084 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Jan. 5. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22.
A website that tracks COVID infections across the globe reports that Arizona now has highest rate of COVID infection in the world.
The website 91-divoc.com, which uses data from Johns Hopkins University, reports that Arizona is seeing 118.3 infections per 100,000 people on a seven-day average, compared to 66.5 infections per 100,000 for the United States as a whole.
The Pima County Health Department reported yesterday that the number of COVID-positive patients in Pima County hospitals jumped by 7 percent to 746. Only 10 ICU beds remained available and only 59 medical/surgical beds were available throughout the county.
A total of 80 people in Pima County hospitals had died in the first five days of 2021, according to PCHD.
As of yesterday morning, 95 patients were waiting in emergency rooms for an inpatient bed, including 64 COVID-positive patients.
The health department continues to ask residents to stay home and minimize activities that involve contact with people outside of their households, stay physically distanced and practice mask-wearing and frequent sanitization.
“This isn’t just about COVID anymore and whether you think it’s a real problem or not. The patients filling these hospitals are absolutely real and if you have a heart attack, or if you get into a car accident, or your appendix bursts, there is a real possibility that you may not get the timely care you need to save your life if we don’t get control of this virus,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, director of the Pima County Health Department. “People are dying yet many of those deaths are preventable if the people of this community stay home, wear their masks and avoid people they don’t live with as much as possible.”
Pima County under curfew
Pima County remains under a mandatory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in an attempt to combat Southern Arizona's rising number of coronavirus cases.
Penalties for a nonessential business found violating curfew range from having their business permit suspended or revoked.
The mandatory curfew will stay in place until coronavirus infection rates drop below 100 per 100,000 people, according to county officials.
While businesses will now face losing their operating permits if they don't comply with the curfew, it "carries no penalty associated with the individual, as it would be difficult to enforce a curfew against individuals without the cooperation of law enforcement," Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry wrote in the memo regarding the memo.
Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing
Pima County offers a number of testing centers around town.
You’ll have a nasal swab test at the Kino Event Center (2805 E. Ajo Way) the Udall Center (7200 E. Tanque Verde Road) and downtown (88 E. Broadway).
The center at the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road, involves a saliva test designed by ASU.
In addition, the Pima County Health Department, Pima Community College and Arizona State University have partnered to create new drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites at three Pima Community College locations. At the drive-thru sites, COVID-19 testing will be offered through spit samples instead of nasal canal swabs. Each site will conduct testing from 9 a.m. to noon, and registration is required in advance. Only patients 5 years or older can be tested.
Schedule an appointment at these or other pop-up sites at pima.gov/covid19testing.
The University of Arizona’s antibody testing has been opened to all Arizonans as the state attempts to get a handle on how many people have been exposed to COVID-19 but were asymptomatic or otherwise did not get a test while they were ill. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.
—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner, Nicole Ludden and Mike Truelsen