Arizona reports 7,217 new COVID-19 cases and 68 more deaths

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- In this July 28, 2020, file photo, people wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at Cesar Chavez City Park in Phoenix. Arizona hospital officials are pleading with people to avoid large Thanksgiving dinners as soaring coronavirus infections put pressure on the state's medical system. Banner Health forecasts it will hit 125 percent of its licensed capacity around Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)

 Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 7,217 new COVID-19 cases and 68 more deaths.

The latest numbers increased the state’s totals to 722,574 cases and 12,238 known deaths since the pandemic began.

On Saturday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 7,316 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 169 deaths. The number of cases and hospitalizations in Arizona are declining despite the state having the nation’s worst infection rate. Still, COVID-19 is on track to eclipse heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death in the state.

One person in every 141 Arizona residents was diagnosed with the coronavirus over the past week.

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have been trending downward since spiking to record levels early last week.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 4,320 on Saturday, the fewest since Dec. 26. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients rose to 1,054.

Meanwhile, the state is ramping up its vaccination program by opening additional sites but, like other states, has had difficulty get enough doses to meet demand. Counties outside of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, have expressed concern about getting short-changed.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.