Meanwhile, the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 cases in Arizona stands at 12,238 after 68 new deaths were reported. There have been 3,359 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Arizona in January alone, which means 27 percent of the total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic have come this month.
The state had been somewhat effective in combating the virus, but has shown major signs of regression over the past three months. While July saw an average increase of 3,075 new cases a day, Arizona averaged 877 new cases a day in August, averaged 552 new cases a day in September, but the number crept back up to an average of 903 new cases a day in October, and Arizona averaged 2,600 new cases a day in November. In December, the state averaged 6,073 new cases per day, about double that of the previous worst month. Arizona has already recorded 202,346 new cases in January, an average of 8,431 new cases per day and 28 percent of the total number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona since the start of the pandemic.
The numbers can be numbing. And that’s exactly what health officials fear.
Hospital capacity is being stretched to the breaking point, with COVID-19 patients taking up a record 61% of beds in the state’s intensive care units, and health care workers struggling under the strain.
But news of the disease, while prominent, does not command the headlines or the attention it did just months ago.
“The phenomenon some call COVID fatigue is real, and it’s dangerous,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, in a late-November video update.
Health officials are predicting a dark winter for the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of cases – and deaths – is expected to continue surging across the state and the nation. COVID-19 was already the third-leading cause of death in Arizona before a summer spike in infections was brought under control, but cases began surging again in fall as life moved indoors, people began to travel and let down their guards.
Cronkite News has been tracking the progress of the disease since the first case was reported in the state in late January. This chart, which looks at new cases and deaths reported by the Arizona Department of Health Services, is updated daily.
COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. ADHS advises everyone to take precautions:
The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Wear a mask when you are in close proximity to other people.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. For people with mild illness, individuals are asked to stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and get rest. For people with more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, individuals are advised to seek healthcare.
ADHS activated its Health Emergency Operations Center on January 27th after the first case of travel-associated COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona. The Health Emergency Operations Center remains open to coordinate the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information about the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.