Arizona sees big jump in COVID cases, most since mid-July




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The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,434 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a massive jump from recent days and the highest single-day total since mid-July.

New COVID infections have been on the rise for weeks as Arizona and the rest of the United States grapples with a resurgence of the novel coronavirus. Daily numbers for new cases have mostly ranged from 1,000 to 2,000 over the past two weeks, reaching as high as 2,621 on Saturday. But this is the first time in months that number has eclipsed 3,000.

Tuesday’s total was the highest daily number since July 14, when ADHS reported 3,488 new infections.

ADHS also reported 28 new deaths from COVID on Tuesday.

Other coronavirus indicators are also worsening. As of Tuesday, ADHS reported 1,289 total COVID hospitalizations, the highest number since Aug. 15. That number has risen consistently since reaching its nadir of 468 on Sept. 27.

Arizona’s COVID outbreak peaked over the summer, reaching records of 5,450 cases on June 29 and 3,517 total hospitalizations on July 13. At the time, Arizona was facing one of the worst outbreaks in the country. Infections, hospitalizations and other key indicators began dropping after Gov. Doug Ducey lifted his ban on cities and counties imposing mask mandates. 

The U.S. has been on a dramatic upswing in cases that began in mid-September and hit record highs in early November, including six consecutive days of more than 100,000 cases reported. In the past week, new daily reported cases rose more than 31% nationwide. 

At the same time, many localities — including in Arizona — have begun rolling back restrictions on business activity like bars and restaurants and ending mask mandates.

However, President-elect Joe Biden has said he favors a nationwide mask mandate aimed at curbing transmission of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. On Monday, Biden’s transition team announced its COVD-19 task force members.

“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement Monday. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”

Jeremy Duda
Associate Editor Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”