Arizona Reports 845 Additional Covid-19 Cases, 30 Deaths

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona on Friday reported 845 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 30 more deaths, topping the state's latest seven-day rolling averages for both pandemic metrics.

The state's totals rose to 852,570 cases and 17,153 deaths, according to he Department of Health Services' coronavirus dashboard.

The latest seven-day rolling average of daily new cases was 689.3 as of Wednesday, up over the previous two weeks from 600.7 on March 31, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Meanwhile, the rolling average of daily deaths declined, dropping from 14.7 as of March 31 to 12.3 on Wednesday.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations continued to range daily in the past three weeks between 500 and 600, with 569 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Thursday, according to the state's dashboard.

The number of infections is thought to be higher than reported because many people haven’t been tested. Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

With over 40,000 vaccinations administered Thursday, nearly 2.7 million people have received at least one dose and 1.8 million are now fully vaccinated, according to the state's dashboard.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, acknowledged that there has been a significant drop in demand for vaccine appointments at some state-run sites. Yet only an estimated 37% of the state's eligible population has been vaccinated. Factors contributing to the decline include vaccine hesitancy, a preference to wait for more convenient appointment times or going elsewhere for a vaccine, she said.

“You're going to see our messaging start to change. Supply is starting to meet the demand,” Christ said during a virtual news briefing. “We're working with community leaders to get those messages out about the importance of vaccine ... get that message out it is safe.”

Christ said she was also hopeful that the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be “un-paused relatively soon.” The federal government this week recommended pausing administering J&J doses because of six cases where patients developed blood clots days after getting vaccinated. The cases all involved women between ages 18 and 48. One died.

These incidents are rare events and likely are related to patients with a low platelet count, Christ said. So far, Arizona has not reported any instances of such adverse effects after vaccine administration.