(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Saturday, Oct. 10.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 894 new coronavirus cases and 13 additional deaths on Saturday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 224,978 COVID-19 infections and 5,759 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic have dropped dramatically since peaking during the summer, although coronavirus-related hospitalizations have been trending upward recently.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients dipped to 685 on Thursday, 21 fewer than the previous day but the fourth most since Sept. 3.
After rising for eight consecutive days, the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds fell by 10 to 145 on Friday, the third most since Sept. 13. On Sept. 22, it was a pandemic-low 114.
The COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are still far below the peaks of 3,517 inpatients and 970 patients in ICU beds, both recorded July 13.
Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing is on pace to be 4% for the sixth consecutive week, with 46,828 tests recorded so far this week.
The positivity rate, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, 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 hospitalization data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals.
The rolling seven-day average for the state health department’s newly reported cases was 617.29 through Thursday, according to tracking by The Associated Press. That’s the highest since Sept. 24, but it’s far below the peak of 3,844 on July 6.
The seven-day average of newly reported deaths fell to 7.57, dipping below 10 for the first time since May 1. The death average topped out at 94 on July 30.
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. All of Arizona’s counties have hit benchmarks established by the health department that allow certain businesses to reopen under capacity restrictions and other regulations.
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.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.