(AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Sunday, Sept. 13.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 384 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths on Sunday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 208,512 COVID-19 infections and 5,322 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations, are at or near the lowest they’ve been in months.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 525 on Saturday, the fewest since April 12.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds fell to 171, returning to the second-lowest mark since April 9, the first day AZDHS reported the statistic.
COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out at 970 the same day.
Overall, inpatient beds were 81% full on Saturday, dropping 1% from the previous two days. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10.
The ICU occupancy rate was 79%, a 1% increase from the previous two days. ICU occupancy rate topped out at 91% on July 7.
Hospital bed data on the health department website does not include surge beds that have not been activated but can potentially increase capacity.
Arizona’s weekly positive rate for COVID-19 diagnostic tests is on pace to be 4% for the fourth consecutive week, the lowest it’s been since the early days of the pandemic in March. It had been as high as 20% at the end of June.
Weekly rates are based on when the samples are taken, not when they are reported, so the percentage for recent weeks can fluctuate as labs get caught up on testing and the results are documented by the state.
The Arizona health department’s daily reports present case, death and testing data after the state receives statistics and confirms them, which can lag by several days or more. They don’t represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.
The hospital data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.
As cases skyrocketed in June, local governments in many parts of Arizona — including all of Maricopa County — implemented face mask requirements, and Gov. Doug Ducey issued statewide executive orders to close certain businesses and restrict restaurant occupancy.
The spread of COVID-19 soon slowed and has been steadily falling since the peak of the pandemic. Much of the state has hit benchmarks established by the health department that allow certain businesses to reopen under capacity restrictions and other regulations.
The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases was 317 on Saturday, according to tracking by The Associated Press. It’s back down after a slight bump at the beginning of September and is the lowest since May 4.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths was 18.33, the lowest since June 10.
The seven-day average for new cases peaked July 6 at 3,844, and the stat for deaths reached a high of 94 on July 30.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has no impact on some people and is seriously debilitating or fatal for others. Infected people without symptoms – which include but are not limited to cough, fever and difficulty breathing — are capable of spreading the virus.