PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona on Thursday reported 4,123 additional known COVID-19 cases, the most in a single day since July.
The Department of Health Services also reported 19 additional deaths due to the coronavirus outbreak as the overall death toll rose to 6,384. The state's case total increased to 287,225.
Arizona last topped 4,000 new cases in July during a summer surge that made the state a national hot spot after Gov. Doug Ducey relaxed business closings and stay-home restrictions.
Arizona's outbreak lessened in August and September after local governments implemented masking mandates and Ducey instituted restrictions on some businesses.
The virus surged again in October and into November, with over 41,000 new cases reported since Nov. 1. State and public health officials cite school and business reopenings and public weariness with anti-virus precautions.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to increase, with just under 1,800 reported as of Wednesday. That is about three times as many as the state had in September and about half as many as at the summer surge's peak.
Ducey on Wednesday warned that coronavirus cases are increasing at an alarming rate but the Republican governor stopped short of implementing any major new virus prevention restrictions or imposing a statewide mask mandate, as Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman have urged.
“I want people to wear masks. Masks work,” Ducey said during a COVID—19 briefing. He noted that about 90% of the state’s population is already under mask mandates imposed by county and local officials.
Ducey said a statewide mandate was not necessary but that the state would issue an an for wearing masks in schools and on school buses, provide COVID-19 tests at airports in Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson, and allocate $25 million to bolster hospital staffing.
The steps taken so far by Ducey in response to the current surge won't keep Arizona from experiencing a hospital space crisis in December, former state Department of Health Services said in a . “Get ready folks."
The number of reported 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.
According to data from The COVID Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins University analyzed by The Associated Press, rolling seven-day averages of daily new cases and testing positivity rate in Arizona rose over the past two week while the average for daily deaths declined.
The average of daily new cases rose from 1,353 on Nov. 4 to 2,563 on Wednesday as the testing positivity average went from 11.7% to 16.2%. and the daily deaths average went from 22 to 20.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Associated Press reporter Bob Christie contributed from Phoenix.