Southern AZ COVID-19 AM Roundup for Thursday, Jan. 21: State Has Seen Nearly 700K COVID Cases; 244 New Deaths Reported Today; Bars Win Round in Court Against Pima County Curfew; Hospital Pressure Remains High

With more than 9,300 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases nearly hit 700,000 as of Thursday, Jan 21, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 1,320 new cases today, has seen 93,839 of the state’s 699,942 confirmed cases.

A total of 11,772 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 1,531 deaths in Pima County, according to the Jan. 21 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide has dropped slightly in the last week but still remains far above the peak levels of the summer’s first wave. ADHS reported that as of Jan. 20, 4,580 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 about one-tenth of the current count.

A total of 2,046 people visited emergency rooms on Jan. 20 with COVID symptoms, down from the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. That number had previously peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.

A total of 1,058 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Jan. 20. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22.

Bars win round in court against Pima County curfew

Pima County’s mandatory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew has been temporarily halted after a group of Tucson bars were granted a preliminary injunction barring the county from enforcing the curfew.

Owners of Cobra Arcade Bar, HighWire Lounge and The Maverick filed a joint lawsuit on Jan. 5 contending the county overextended their legal authority to mandate a curfew.

The owner of The Maverick, Grant Krueger, included other Tucson restaurants he owns in the lawsuit: Union Public House, Reforma Modern Mexican and Proof Artisanal Pizza & Pasta.

After considering the evidence at a Jan. 15 hearing, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson ordered Pima County to cease enforcing the curfew in a ruling filed Jan. 19.

Read 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 pima.gov/covid19testing.

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 https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.

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