Reported COVID-19 deaths spike 50% in Maricopa County over Christmas holiday as Arizona hospitalizations hit all-time high

Deaths, positivity rates and hospitalizations have all hit all-time highs this week in Maricopa County and Arizona. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Deaths, positivity rates and hospitalizations have all hit all-time highs this week in Maricopa County and Arizona. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Deaths, positivity rates and hospitalizations have all hit all-time highs this week in Maricopa County and Arizona. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Following the Christmas holiday and leading up the new year, coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations continue to surge across Arizona and Maricopa County, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Public Health.

MCPH data from its Dec. 29 update, which included Dec. 25-28, showed deaths from COVID-19 since the start of pandemic to be 5,019, which was an increase of more than 50% from the 3,340 deaths reported Dec. 23. Another 40 deaths were reported in the Dec. 30 update.

It was not immediately clear why the number of deaths spiked over the holiday. MCPH Program Operations Administrator Jaenene Fowler could not be reached for comment.

Hospitalizations rising

Meanwhile, the number of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in Arizona hospitals hit another all-time high Dec. 29 at 4,526 patients, according to ADHS data. Before the surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall, the previous high was 3,517 patients on July 13. That record was surpassed Dec. 11 and has risen another 28% since that time.


The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds and those seen in emergency departments also both hit new statewide highs Dec. 29, according to ADHS data, at 1,076 and 2,341, respectively.




More cases, higher positivity rates

Similarly, the overall confirmed coronavirus cases and the rate of positive COVID-19 tests have set new records this week as well.


MCPH data from its Dec. 29 update, which included Dec. 25-28, saw 11,447 new cases confirmed in Maricopa County. Another 2,962 were confirmed Dec. 30. The overall number of confirmed cases countywide since the start of the pandemic hit more than 317,000 on Dec. 30.



The week of Dec. 27, the rate of positive diagnostic coronavirus tests hit an all-time high of 27% statewide, according to ADHS. That number for Maricopa County for the same time period was even higher at 28%.

The overall positivity rate since the start of the pandemic is 12.7% statewide and 13.2% in Maricopa County.
By Matt Stephens
Matt Stephens joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2012. A Tomball native and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Matt joined as a reporter for The Woodlands team before being promoted to help launch the Spring | Klein edition in spring of 2014 and later to North Houston managing editor in late 2015. He has served as managing editor to the Phoenix and Nashville papers since August 2020.


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