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Arizona COVID-19 hospitalizations at record high

Hospital Generic
Posted at 4:54 PM, Dec 23, 2020

On Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 6,058 COVID-19 cases and 54 deaths related to the disease.

Arizona is still seeing daily case reports in the top 10, though just barely. The 7-day rolling average for cases is down to 6,293, off from the high of 7,772 hit on December 14.

COVID-19 deaths in Arizona continue to rise. While Wednesday’s report is not among the highest, it is high enough to keep the 7-day average of deaths at the 92.7, the second highest recorded.

A sobering consequence of the high case numbers that Arizona continues to see comes in the form of record COVID-19 hospitalizations. 972 patients are in ICU, 70% of them are on ventilators, according to the numbers published by the health department. The state’s ICU beds are reported to be 93% full, a record since reporting began on March 27. COVID-19 “Inpatient,” or general acute care hospitalizations also posted a record high of 4,163.

What can the Christmas Holiday Bring?

With Christmas and New Year’s quickly approaching, we should expect to see some lower than “normal” COVID-19 reports for cases and deaths in the next few weeks that may paint an artificially low picture of what is happening on the ground. This is because COVID-19 cases and death reporting require research from state epidemiologists, many of whom will be taking time off for the holidays.

Hospitalizations do not require research as they are self-reported by the hospital systems. We should the rise to continue for COVID-19 hospitalization usage since projections by the University of Washington show that hospitalizations are not expected to peak until early January.

Whatever impact Christmas and New Year’s does have on Arizona’s COVID-19 pandemic will likely remain unknown for quite some time in the future.

Generally, it takes about two weeks for the reported data to fully reflect what occurred in a given time period, and since many people’s routines will change not just for Christmas, but for the following week until after Near Years Day, we may have to wait until January 15 to find out if COVID-19 is either continuing to slow down in Arizona, or if it will pick up again