Thursday, January 7, 2021

Southern AZ COVID-19 AM Roundup for Thursday, Jan 7: Nearly 10K New Cases, 297 New Deaths; Total Cases Top 584K; More Patients Than Ever in Hospitals; Vaccine Shot Progress; Pima County Remains Under Curfew; Test Sites Open

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 9:04 AM

With more than 9,900 new cases reported today, the number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 584,000 as of Thursday, Jan 7, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 1,611 new cases today, has seen 77,854 of the state’s 584,593 confirmed cases.

A total of 9,741 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 1,189 deaths in Pima County, according to the Jan. 7 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide continues to soar as the virus has begun to spread more rapidly, putting stress on Arizona’s hospitals and surpassing July peaks. ADHS reported that as of Jan. 6, a record 4,920 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state. The summer peak of 3,517 hospitalized COVID patients was set on July 13; that number hit a subsequent low of 468 on Sept. 27, or less than a tenth of the current count.

A total of 2,280 people visited emergency rooms on Jan. 6 with COVID symptoms, down from the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29. That number had previously peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.

A total of 1,001 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Jan. 6. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22.

A website that tracks COVID infections across the globe reports that Arizona continues to have the highest rate of COVID infection in the world.

The website, which uses data from Johns Hopkins University, reports that Arizona is seeing 122.1 infections per 100,000 people on a seven-day average, compared to 67.6 infections per 100,000 for the United States as a whole.

Progress on vaccine distribution in Pima County

As early as next week, the groups of essential workers and those older than 75 included in the next phase of Pima County’s vaccine distribution plan may have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Pima County Health Department announced at a press conference this week.

Pima County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia said the county anticipates rolling out phase 1B of vaccinations at the end of next week.

Phase 1B includes the vaccination of prioritized essential workers in education and protective services, essential workers in fields like transportation and government, adults in congregate settings with high-risk medical conditions and individuals over 75.

Those who qualify in phase 1B can pre-register here.

Every county in Arizona except Pinal and Gila is currently in phase 1A of the vaccination process, which includes healthcare workers, emergency medical service workers, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

However, the health department warns there are “hundreds of thousands” of individuals encompassed in the 1B category, and estimate vaccinating the upcoming group could take until the end of March.

More details here.

Pima County under curfew

Pima County remains under a mandatory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in an attempt to combat Southern Arizona's rising number of coronavirus cases.

Penalties for a nonessential business found violating curfew range from having their business permit suspended or revoked.

The mandatory curfew will stay in place until coronavirus infection rates drop below 100 per 100,000 people, according to county officials.

While businesses will now face losing their operating permits if they don't comply with the curfew, it "carries no penalty associated with the individual, as it would be difficult to enforce a curfew against individuals without the cooperation of law enforcement," Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry wrote in the memo regarding the memo.

More details here.

Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing

Pima County offers a number of testing centers around town.

You’ll have a nasal swab test at the Kino Event Center (2805 E. Ajo Way) the Udall Center (7200 E. Tanque Verde Road) and downtown (88 E. Broadway).

The center at the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road, involves a saliva test designed by ASU.

In addition, the Pima County Health Department, Pima Community College and Arizona State University have partnered to create new drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites at three Pima Community College locations. At the drive-thru sites, COVID-19 testing will be offered through spit samples instead of nasal canal swabs. Each site will conduct testing from 9 a.m. to noon, and registration is required in advance. Only patients 5 years or older can be tested.

Schedule an appointment at these or other pop-up sites at

The University of Arizona’s antibody testing has been opened to all Arizonans as the state attempts to get a handle on how many people have been exposed to COVID-19 but were asymptomatic or otherwise did not get a test while they were ill. To sign up for testing, visit

—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner, Nicole Ludden and Mike Truelsen

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