Coronavirus cases continued to rise in Maricopa County as 5,570 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday.
The new reports continued a trend that has seen several weeks of steady daily case counts in the thousands. The latest report from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health finds the total number of cases since the pandemic began at 364,066.
Deaths also saw a spike on Thursday as the county reported 159, bringing the total since the pandemic started to 5,598. Thursday’s number was roughly double the deaths reported on Wednesday.
The new cases, which have spiked significantly this week even amid a trend of new cases and deaths that started two months ago, has pushed the seven-day rolling average of 4,660 as of Dec. 31, the highest of the pandemic.
Deaths also are at their highest point on a seven-day average, hitting 52 daily as of Dec. 21. Reports of deaths generally lag behind reports of new cases by two to three weeks.
The county’s numbers have been rising steadily since October, and in the past two weeks have eclipsed the number of cases reported daily during the initial summer wave.
Last week saw one of the biggest jumps in case counts, with three days reporting more than 6,000 cases in the county and one day so far over 5,000. Reports of new tests can take three to five days to be added to totals.
Hospitalizations also are at their highest point in the county, averaging 249 per day as of Dec. 23, the latest day for which data was available.
Hospitalizations are a key challenge regarding the virus in the Valley and state as increases in cases are straining the ability of the region’s health care infrastructure to deal with greater numbers.