Hospitalizations for COVID-19 hit new record in Arizona Saturday, overall cases now exceed 19,000 – AZCentral


Statewide hospitalizations of people with positive and suspected COVID-19 in Arizona increased for a fourth day in a row, reaching a record high of 975, Saturday’s state data shows.

Ventilator use and ICU bed use by patients with positive and suspected COVID-19 climbed again, with both numbers marking all-time highs since the state began reporting COVID-19 hospitalization data on April 9, numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services show.

Known deaths in the state caused by the the novel virus as of Saturday stand at 903.  Eighteen new deaths were reported Saturday.

The state’s total number of reported positive COVID-19 cases jumped 4.2% on Saturday, signaling the highest single-day increase in cases: 790. The total number of positive cases reported statewide is 19,255.

The single day jump in positives does not mean all of those cases were confirmed on the same day, as lags in confirming and tallying test results are common.

The data showed 615 suspected or positive COVID-19 patients visited emergency rooms on Friday, down from Thursday’s record high of 667. It was the third day in a row that emergency department visits have exceeded 600, and 14% higher than the number of emergency room visits on the same day last week.

Additional deaths are reported each day, and have varied between single- and double-digit increases. The number of deaths reported each day represents the additional known deaths reported by the Health Department that day, but could have occurred weeks prior and on different days.

The date with the most deaths in a single day so far is April 30 with 26, followed by April 23 and May 8 with 24 deaths each. Next comes May 5 with 23 deaths and April 19, April 20, May 3 and May 7 with 22 deaths on each of those days, according to Friday’s data, which is likely to change in the days ahead as more deaths are identified.

Maricopa County’s confirmed case total was at 9,522 on Friday, according to state numbers. 

The number of Arizona cases likely is higher than official numbers because of limits on supplies and available tests. The state announced on April 23 that anyone who believes he or she could be infected can now get tested.

The state’s effort to add new hospital beds also affects the hospitalization data. While the percentage of beds available has been fairly stable over the past couple of weeks, the raw numbers of people in the hospital due to COVID-19 have gone up.

The latest Arizona data

As of Saturday morning, the state reported death totals from these counties: 430 in Maricopa, 185 in Pima, 81 in Coconino, 59 in Navajo, 44 in Mohave, 39 in Pinal, 35 in Apache, 14 in Yuma and seven in Yavapai.

Graham, La Paz County and Gila County officials reported having fewer than three deaths each. Cochise County has had three deaths, the data shows. Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties both have reported no deaths.

Of the statewide identified cases overall, 47% are men and 53% are women. But men made up a higher percentage of deaths, with 55% of the deaths men and 45% women as of Saturday.

People 65 and older made up 705 of the 903 total deaths, or 78%.

While race/ethnicity is unknown for 11% of deaths, 49% were white people, 19% were Native Americans and 16% were Hispanic or Latino.

Maricopa County’s Department of Public Health provided more detailed information on a total of  9,419 cases Saturday (the state reported the county case total at 9,522), including:

  • Confirmed cases increased by 421 from Friday to Saturday. Deaths increased by 12 to 413 (the state lists the Maricopa County death total as 430).
  • The cases are 46% men and 54% women. 
  • Of 1,330 positive cases among long-term care facility residents, 422 (32%) have been hospitalized and 288 (22%) have died.
  • Of 688 positive cases among long-term care facility staff, 52 (8%) have been hospitalized and three (0.4%) have died.

Counties in northern Arizona remain the hardest-hit when it comes to rates of infection per 100,000 population.

Three inmate deaths confirmed

The Arizona Department of Corrections’ online dashboard as of Friday said the deaths of three inmates due either directly or indirectly to COVID-19 have been confirmed, and the deaths of four others are under investigation but are suspected to be related to COVID-19.

The three confirmed deaths include one inmate at the Tucson facility and two in Florence. Three other deaths at the Florence facility and one other at the Tucson facility are potentially related to COVID-19.

As of Friday, 182 Arizona prison inmates had tested positive for COVID-19. The cases were at these eight facilities: 71 in Florence, 61 in Yuma, 28 in Tucson, nine in Marana, five in Eyman, five in Phoenix, two in Perryville and one in Kingman.

The department had tested 1,132 inmates, with 764 negative cases and 194 pending out of a total daily population of 40,975. Fifty-two inmates have recovered, the data says.

Eighty-two prison staff members have self-reported positive for the virus, and 61 have been certified as recovered, the department said. 

Both legal and nonlegal visitations have been suspended through June 13, at which point the department will reassess. Temporary video visitation will be available to approved visitors and inmates who have visitation privileges, the department announced. Inmates are eligible for one 15-minute video visit per week. CenturyLink also is giving inmates two additional 15-minute calls for free during each week visitation is restricted.

Arizona Republic reporter Alison Steinbach contributed to this article.

Reach health care reporter Stephanie Innes at or at 602-444-8369. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieinnes

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