While the number of COVID patients is on a downturn statewide and fewer, Arizona hospitals remain crowded.
As of this past Wednesday, February 16, 22% of inpatient beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. This number is far from 41% on January 27. With that said, because more non-COVID patients are in the hospital, inpatient beds remain nearly full. According to the Arizona coronavirus dashboard, COVID-19 patients still account for more than 70% of emergency room use.
Beyond the still large number of COVID patients in the hospital at this time, there are several other factors that health officials attribute to the continued crowding in local hospitals. Many patients in Arizona hospitals require extended stays, making it more difficult to get new patients in.
There are still many people seeking healthcare now that the pandemic is slowing down. Patients who could not receive the care they needed during the peak of the pandemic are looking for help now that it is available.
New COVID Cases In Arizona
As of this past Thursday, the state of Arizona reported 209 additional deaths from COVID-19. This number was one of the most prominent case increases in the past few months. However, the pace of reported deaths has slowed down quite considerably over the past few months as well.
Arizona’s seven-day average, according to John Hopkins University, decreased to 57.6 from 75.6 on Tuesday the 15th.
During that same period, the seven-day average for known daily cases also decreased, moving from 12,434 to 3,634. Note that these numbers did not take into account self-administered home COVID tests.
With the additional 209 deaths from this past Thursday, the state of Arizona’s pandemic toll is now 27,398.
Arizona now ranks 11th in the nation for the most COVID-19 deaths and is third in the nation for the rate of virus deaths per population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With all of that said, state officials say that Arizona is making progress while telling residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccines have been proven to reduce COVID infections, which can cause serious illness, and in worst cases, death. This rings true with the newer Omicron variant, which is far more contagious than the first.
Booster shots are also available to Arizona residents, providing an added layer of protection for those who have already received their second Moderna of Pfizer dose at least five months prior. The booster is also available to those who received the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months prior.
As for now, Modern and Johnson & Johnson have set the minimum age for vaccination at 18, while Pfizer has set the minimum age to five.
While this downward trend is generating a sense of optimism for Arizona residents, the virus is still highly politicized in Arizona. The Arizona Secretary of State, Mark Finchem, recently suggested COVID was a hoax and a “crime against humanity” created by scientists. He also recently declared vaccines as “potentially deadly gene therapy.”