Arizona reports 1,947 new COVID-19 cases and 30 more deaths

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World War II veteran John Mohun, 94, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Veterans Affairs agency in Phoenix on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2020. The VA began administering vaccinations to staff and veterans in Phoenix, starting with those at the VA health care system's nursing home and are voluntary for both staff and veterans. They will be offered next to staff of the emergency department and intensive care unit of the VA's Phoenix medical center, spokeswoman Cindy Dorfner said. (Dexter Marquez/Veterans Affairs via AP)

Arizona health officials on Sunday reported nearly 2,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 30 more deaths as the state closes in on 800,000 cases and 15,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

The latest numbers released by the Arizona Department of Health Services increased the state’s pandemic totals to 797,270 cases and 14,978 known deaths.

Health officials said the coronavirus remains widespread across the state, but the surge that made Arizona the nation’s hot spot last month is receding.

Also, COVID-19 hospitalizations and daily case averages are now lower than they were at the July peak of the state’s first wave, but the death pace remains higher.

There were 2,213 hospitalized COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Saturday. That’s down from the pandemic high of 5,082 on Jan. 11, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients dipped to 661, tying the fewest since Dec. 1.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.