PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona hospitals continue to get a break from the influx of coronavirus cases that nearly overwhelmed their ability to care for patients early in the summer, but new case counts are again edging up.
Virus counts released Thursday by the state Department of Health Services show 566 new confirmed cases across the state, bringing the total since the pandemic hit early this year to 215,852. The state announced 34 new deaths, bringing that total to 5,559.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Arizona has risen over the past two weeks from 525 new confirmed cases per day on Sept. 9 to 768 new confirmed cases per day on Sept. 23, according to data collected by The COVID Tracking Project. That upward tick may in part be due to the state health department now including “probable” results from less-accurate antigen testing.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
Hospital use is way down from the mid-July peak that saw more than 3,500 people being treated. The state reported just 565 people hospitalized for the virus as of Wednesday, with just 122 in intensive care and only 64 needing ventilators to help them breathe.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.