COVID-19 in Arizona: hospitals still crowded as new cases decrease

The state has reported under 3,000 new cases for four consecutive days


Jernej Furman

The ADHS reported 2,781 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

Thousands of Arizonans remain positive for COVID-19 as the coronavirus pandemic inches closer to its two-year anniversary.

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced 2,781 new COVID cases on Thursday and reported 209 deaths, after only three were reported the previous day. Over 27,000 Arizonans have died due to COVID-related illness during the pandemic, and the ADHS has confirmed 1.7 million cases with a further 220,000 suspected.

Despite the gaudy new number, it is in fact a reduction from the high levels of positive cases Arizona has sustained in 2022. The seven-day average has fallen below the 4,000-case-per day threshold for the first time this year, and 69 percent of Arizonans have received at least one vaccine dose according to ADHS statistics.

Hospitalizations owing to COVID are also decreasing, but these numbers still remain high. The ADHS reported 1,915 inpatient hospitalizations on Wednesday, which represents a 25 percent decrease relative to a week ago. The number of intensive care patients with COVID has come down roughly 20 percent, from 518 on Feb. 9 to 415 on Wednesday.

Though this modest downward trend is generating optimism that the worst of the Omicron variant wave is perhaps nearing an end, the pandemic remains intensely politicized in Arizona. CNN reported Wednesday that Mark Finchem, the Arizona Secretary of State candidate backed by former president Donald Trump, has suggested that COVID-19 is a hoax and that scientists responsible for creating its vaccine have committed a “crime against humanity.”

Finchem has further referred to the COVID vaccines as “potentially deadly gene therapy,” even as the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared the shots safe.