Record number of COVID cases, deaths in Arizona to begin 2021

By: - January 11, 2021 1:54 pm
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The start of the new year has brought a record number of new cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Arizona, with the first week of 2021 being its deadliest week on record. 

Between Jan. 3 and 9, 1,080 Arizonans have died from the virus, the most in a single week, according to data from John Hopkins University. The previous record was in December, when 614 Arizonans lost their lives from Dec. 13-19. 

The state also broke a record for the number of weekly new cases reported, with more than 62,000 new cases reported in the same time period. 

December was Arizona’s worst month for COVID cases, but January could be on the way to outpace the month as cases and deaths continue to increase. 

Over the last week, Arizona has averaged 8,800 new confirmed cases per day — or roughly 122 cases for every 100,000 residents

Before the surge in cases that began in November, the state’s previous worst month had been July, when cases skyrocketed and hospitals became inundated with patients. But that record number of cases in July 94,782 was dwarfed by the 193,390 in December. 

The number of COVID-19 patients in Arizona’s intensive care unit beds are also continuing to rise. According to Arizona Department of Health Services data, 1,158 ICU beds — about 65% of the state’s total capacity — are filled with coronavirus patients. ICU space remains limited, with more than 90% of the space filled. 

COVID patients are also filling up non-ICU hospital beds, with nearly three in every five hospital beds in the state occupied with a coronavirus patient. Only 8% of all inpatient beds in the state are vacant. 

And nearly 60% of the state’s ventilators are in use, with 60% of those benign used to treat COVID patients.

Arizona has also passed another grim milestone: More than 10,000 Arizonans have died from the virus. In all, more than 627,000 cases have been confirmed since the pandemic began in March. 

Despite hospitals reaching capacity across the state and ICUs being inundated with COVID patients, only 7% of COVID cases in Arizona lead to a hospitalization, per Arizona Department of Health Services data

Over 43,000 Arizonans have been hospitalized for COVID in the state, with the majority of them 65 or older. 

Arizonans between the ages of 20 and 44 make up almost 50% of all COVID cases and nearly a quarter of all hospitalizations. Despite only making up only roughly 10% of total cases, Arizonans aged 65 and older make up nearly 40% of hospitalizations and well over 60% of all deaths.

On Monday, Arizona reported 8,995 new cases and 6 deaths.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.