Arizona COVID-19 Cases Surpass Summer Records

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 1:29pm

Cars wait in line at a COVID-19 testing site in El Mirage
KJZZ
Cars wait in line at a COVID-19 testing site in El Mirage on May 29, 2020.

COVID-19 infections continue to soar in Arizona. The state reported a staggering 10,322 new positive cases Tuesday — more than double the state’s July record. But the number needs some context.

"It is important to note that these newly reported cases were from specimens collected over the last week and are not all from yesterday," Arizona Department of Health Services director, Dr. Cara Christ wrote in a blog post

The Thanksgiving holiday led to some delays in lab results, so the record-high number of new cases represent more than a typical Tuesday report would.

"While today’s higher numbers have a simple explanation due to the long weekend, the numbers are still trending in a concerning direction, especially considering that the number of holiday parties and gatherings are expected to increase over the next few weeks," Christ wrote.

The average daily number of cases reported over the last week is higher than it’s ever been — more than 4,000 new cases were reported per day on average during the past seven days, compared to about 3,800 per day on average during the summer peak.

Part of the explanation for the record levels of new cases being reported is that the state is performing more tests than ever before. The positivity rate among those tests has not quite reached summer peak level, but it is rising. About 14% of tests have recently been positive. That’s well above the state’s ‘substantial transmission’ benchmark.

"The increased cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations show that COVID-19 is still actively circulating and dangerous," Christ wrote.

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