Arizona reports 3,820 new COVID-19 cases and 28 more deaths

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A healthcare worker performs a COVID-19 test at a drive-thru testing center Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Phoenix. Arizona (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Health officials in Arizona reported 3,820 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28 more deaths Sunday as the pandemic’s latest surge maintained its grip on the state.

The latest numbers pushed Arizona’s totals to 1,292,054 cases and 22,589 known deaths since the pandemic began.

State health officials reported 5,236 cases and 14 deaths Friday with 6,043 more cases and 164 additional deaths Saturday.

It marked just the second time Arizona has seen more than 5,000 cases on two consecutive days since January’s winter surge.

The state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 2,697 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital inpatient beds as of Friday, just below the current surge’s high of 2,714 the day before.

Just 5% of inpatient beds in the state’s crowded system were available Friday, according to the dashboard.

The increase in cases likely reflects continued vaccination resistance and more people getting tested following Thanksgiving gatherings, said Will Humble, a former Department of Health Services director who has been a critic of the state’s handling of the pandemic.

Humble, now executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association said a lack of statewide vaccination and masking requirements — particularly in schools — is coming home to roost and resulted in crowded and stressed hospitals and continued fatalities.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.