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Arizona coronavirus update: State may have passed its projected peak as more than 4,500 cases confirmed

Alison Steinbach
Arizona Republic

Arizona reported 19 more deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, while a widely respected model of the disease's progression predicted that the state had passed its likely peak in hospital resources and deaths.

Arizona's total identified cases rose to 4,507, with 169 known deaths, according to the most recent figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services. That's an increase of 273 confirmed cases, or 6.4%, since Thursday, when the state reported 4,234 identified cases and 150 deaths.

Maricopa County's confirmed cases now exceed 2,400, according to state numbers. All of Arizona's 15 counties have reported at least one case.

A model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that shows nationwide and international projections was updated Friday and shows a significantly different path for the disease in Arizona than earlier projections.

The institute's Arizona model estimates "peak resource" use was on April 10 — that means hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators were at their greatest use that day. Based on projections, Arizona has enough beds to meet the continued demand. The earlier projection was April 30.

The projected peak in deaths per day was April 5, with 12deaths that day, even though Arizona surpassed that number Friday. The earlier projection was May 2.

The model predicts Arizona will have 267 COVID-19 deaths by Aug. 4, compared with an earlier projection of 1,005 deaths by Aug. 4.

State officials said in late March they expected cases to peak in April and hospitalizations to peak in May. 

The latest Arizona data

More detailed data, including cases by ZIP code and race/ethnicity, was first released by the state Sunday and continues to be updated. 

The number of Arizona cases likely is higher than official numbers suggest because of limits on supplies and available tests, which led to the state issuing guidelines that restrict who should be tested.

As of Friday morning, the state reported death totals from these counties: 69 in Maricopa, 51 in Pima, 24 in Coconino (county officials reported 26), 11 in Navajo, five in Pinal and four in Apache.

Mohave County reported two deaths, and Yavapai, Yuma and La Paz reported one each, as of Thursday. Information on deaths in those counties differed on the state site early Friday, showing fewer than three deaths for each of the four counties.

Of the statewide identified cases overall, 46% are men and 54% are women. Previously, the majority of cases were men.

Men made up a higher percentage of deaths. As of Friday's state data, 59% of the deaths were men and 41% were women.

People 65 and older made up 122 of the 169 total deaths. While race/ethnicity is unknown for 26% of deaths, 41% of deaths were white, 18% were Native American and 10% were Hispanic or Latino.

The state Health Department website said both state and private laboratories have completed a total of 49,230 tests for COVID-19, according to the number posted Friday on the agency website. 

Most COVID-19 tests come back negative, the state's dashboard shows, with 8% of tests coming back positive. 

Maricopa County’s Department of Public Health provided more detailed information on its 2,385 cases Friday (the state reported its cases at 2,404): 

  • Confirmed cases increased by 128 from Thursday to Friday. Deaths increased by five, to 69.
  • The cases are 49% men and 51% women.
  • 287 cases have been linked to residents of long-term care facilities. Of those, 82 people (29%) have been hospitalized and 39 people (14%) have died.
  • Fifty-four long-term care facilities have at least one positive case.
  • Sixty-four people under age 19 have tested positive, making up 3% of positive cases.
  • People aged 20 to 44 make up 38% of positive cases, followed by people 45-64 years old at 34% and people 65 or older at 25%.
  • 19%, or 459 cases, have been hospitalized.
  • 6%, or 144 cases, have been in the intensive care unit. The hospitalization and ICU numbers include any cases that were in the hospital or ICU at any time during their illness, the county says.
  • The likelihood of being hospitalized or in the ICU increases with age. Of those aged 20-44, 88 (10%) were hospitalized and 23 (3%) were in the ICU. For people aged 45-64, 156 (20%) were hospitalized and 52 (7%) were in the ICU. Among those over age 65, there were 214 (35%) hospitalized and 69 (11%) in the ICU.
  • Of the 69 deaths in Maricopa County, one was aged 20-44, 11 were aged 45-64 and 57 were over age 65.

Cases rise in other counties

According to Friday's state update, Pima County reported 819 identified cases. Navajo County reported 435 cases, while Coconino reported 304. Pinal County reported 212, Apache County reported 141, Yavapai County reported 69, Mohave County reported 51 and Yuma County reported 23 (county officials reported 28). 

Cochise County reported 20 cases, Santa Cruz County reported 15, La Paz County reported five, Gila County reported five, and Graham County and Greenlee County each reported two, according to state numbers.

All counties but Mohave, La Paz, Gila, Graham and Greenlee saw an increase in their numbers from Thursday.

The Navajo Nation announced on Thursday evening it had 1,127 identified cases, with 44 confirmed deaths. The Navajo Nation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajo Nation will enforce 57-hour weekend curfews for the next three weekends to help slow the spread, officials announced Tuesday. 

17 cases in Arizona prisons

The Arizona Department of Corrections said 17 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday. The 17 cases are at these four facilities: nine in Florence, four in Marana, three in Eyman and one in Tucson.

The department has tested 94 inmates as of Thursday, with 71 negative cases and six pending out of a total population of over 41,500.

Both legal and nonlegal visitations have been suspended through May 13, at which point the department will reassess. The department said CenturyLink is giving inmates two additional 15-minute calls for free during each each week visitation is restricted.

Maricopa County jails, with a population of 5,500, so far has reported no confirmed positive cases, with 28 tested, 21 negative and seven pending.

Republic reporter Rachel Leingang contributed to this article. 

Reach the reporter at Alison.Steinbach@arizonarepublic.com or at 602-444-4282. Follow her on Twitter @alisteinbach.

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