Arizona sees 2nd day of more than 740 virus cases, 3 deaths

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona has seen more than 740 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and three deaths for a second consecutive day.

State health officials on Monday reported 748 positive cases, nearly mirroring the figures of 742 new cases and three deaths from a day earlier.

Officials with the Arizona Department of Health Sciences said there have now been 231,897 coronavirus cases — with more than 150,000 coming from Maricopa County — and 5,830 deaths statewide since the pandemic began.

They said Arizona is seeing a slow increase in the average number of coronavirus cases since a decline that lasted through August and September appears to be ending.

Arizona was a national hotspot for the virus in June and early July, but numbers began to drop last month.

Thursday saw the first daily tally above 1,000 in a month.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients stands at 721. Over the weekend, that figure was at 757, which was a high for the month so far.

Meanwhile, the University of Arizona announced Monday that it was scrapping a traditional spring break next semester. Instead, there will be five days off for students spread across the semester. The hope is to discourage students from risking getting the virus through travel, university officials said.

University President Robert Robbins said he is encouraged that additional testing and other measures are making a difference. More than 6,800 COVID-19 tests were administered on campus between Oct. 8 and Sunday. Of those, only 44 came back positive. Also, no students are currently living in the designated isolation dorms, Robbins said. The most recent tests of dorm wastewater found no signs of COVID-19.

Also on Monday, the White Mountain Apache Tribe announced that its Hon-Dah Resort-Casino will temporarily suspend operations Tuesday after two employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Tribal officials said there also is a staffing shortage caused by other employees entering mandatory self-quarantine.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover, however.