See Dr. Joe Gerald’s Weekly Epidemiology & Hospital Occupancy Report

Arizona blew through the 27,000 COVID-19 death threshold last week, only a couple of weeks after Arizona raced through the 26,000 cumulative death mark. Arizona still ranks 2nd in the U.S. in cumulative per-capita COVID-19 deaths (behind only Mississippi). Arizona had been on track to pass Mississippi and become the deadliest state, but an unexpected increase in new deaths in Mississippi in the last couple weeks has kept Arizona in 2nd place.

Arizona’s COVID death epi-curve for December continued to fill in last week as weeks old death certificates were processed. The week ending December 12th recorded 552 deaths to date (the deadliest week of 2021). A mortality report from the AzPHA indicates that official statistics undercount actual deaths.

Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Arizona’s 8,743 general ward beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients last week, a 20% decrease from the previous week. Four-hundred ninety-nine (499, 31%) of Arizona’s 1642 ICU beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients, a 21% decrease from last week’s 632 occupied beds.

Nevertheless, hospitals remain very busy. They have now experienced 181 consecutive days with a combined occupancy >2000 patients whereas the summer 2020 and winter 2021 saw 57 and 98 days, respectively. We experienced 75 days with >3000 combined occupancy with the Delta/Omicron waves whereas the summer 2020 and winter 2021 waves saw 35 and 78 days, respectively.

At least the rate at which new cases are reported has been moderating. For the week ending February 6th, more than 40,000 Arizonans were diagnosed with COVID-19, a 45% decrease from the 73,828 cases reported the prior week. This week’s tally is smaller than the January 2021 peak (65,094 cases) but it is higher than the June 2020 peak (28,009 cases). The risk of contracting Omicron remains extremely high.

Currently, rates are highest among those 25 – 64 years and lowest among those <15 years, 610 and 466 cases per 100K residents, respectively. Arizona’s new case ranking fell to 11th place with the nation’s leaders being Alaska (1231), Kentucky (990), West Virginia (920), Montana (905), and Mississippi (831).

See Dr. Joe Gerald’s Weekly Epidemiology & Hospital Occupancy Report