AZ COVID-19 hospital bed use has dropped to lowest level since the start of the pandemic
There are now fewer COVID-19 patients in Arizona’s intensive care units or inpatient hospital beds than at any point since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest COVID-19 data update from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
In its weekly report, the state health department added 10,143 new COVID-19 cases. That's an increase over the previous week, but the department said many of the cases in the latest report actually occurred last fall but are being counted now due to reporting delays from one of its laboratories.
Other metrics continue to show Arizona’s COVID-19 outbreak dramatically improving, with hospital occupancy numbers hitting their lowest points in over two years. The department reports there are 39 Arizonans currently on ventilators with COVID-19. In December, more than 400 ventilators were in use for COVID-19 patients across the state.
In a town hall video this week, Jessica Rigler with the health department said the pandemic is not over, but she expects COVID-19 is on its way to becoming more of a seasonal concern, like the flu.
"What we don’t know is what the seasonality of COVID-19 will look like, but we do know that it will be here. We need to continue to monitor and be vigilant by taking protective measures, getting everyone vaccinated who can be vaccinated," Rigler said.
She said it will also be important to continue to watch for changes in the state's data to anticipate future surges.
The Arizona research laboratory TGen reports nearly 60% of recent COVID-19 cases in Arizona have been caused by the omicron BA.2 sub-variant. That highly contagious strain of COVID-19 has led to new waves of infection in several parts of the world. But some Arizona experts are optimistic that BA.2 will not cause a major wave of infections in the state.