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Coronavirus in Arizona on July 16: Gov. Doug Ducey to speaks as death toll nears 2,500

There have been 134,613 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,492 deaths reported in Arizona as of Thursday morning.

PHOENIX — Editor's note: Here's the live blog for July 17.

The number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Arizona continues to rise. 

In an effort to track the changes, 12 News has started a daily live blog.

Here is the live blog for Thursday, July 16.

Major updates: 

  • There have been 134,613 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,492 deaths reported in Arizona as of Thursday morning.
  • The state does not record how many people have recovered, but Johns Hopkins University estimates the number of people who have recovered.
  • Scroll down to see how many cases are in each ZIP code and additional information.

COVID-19 cases reported in Arizona on Thursday

There have been 134,613 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona and 2,492 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the state's latest numbers.

That is an increase from 131,354 cases and 2,434 coronavirus-related deaths reported as of Wednesday.

A week ago, there were 112,671 cases and 2,038 deaths reported in Arizona.

LEER EN ESPANOL: Coronavirus en Arizona el 16 de julio: Más de 3,200 casos nuevos y 58 muertes se reportaron el jueves

More than 3,200 new cases, 58 deaths reported Thursday

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported more than 3,200 new cases and 58 new deaths on Thursday.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases topped 134,000, 10 days after reaching the 100,000 mark.

Arizona reached 50,000 coronavirus cases on June 21. The state reached 1,000 coronavirus deaths on June 5.

Arizona's Rt, pronounced r-naught, was at .98 on Thursday.

The Rt is essentially a mathematical number that shows whether more people are becoming infected or less.

The concern is that any Rt over 1, no matter how small, means the virus may grow exponentially.

RELATED: This is the number that health officials are watching closely in the fight against COVID-19 (And you should too)

There were 5,385 cases reported on the collection date of June 29, the day with the most collected diagnoses so far. That is subject to change.

Health officials said the day with the highest number of reported deaths was June 30, when 55 people died. That is subject to change.

Health officials continued to stress that people should continue social distancing, wearing masks in public and stay home when possible.

Gov. Ducey extends eviction moratorium 

A new executive order announced by Gov. Doug Ducey Thursday extends protection to renters affected by the pandemic through October by extending the eviction moratorium. 

The executive order also adds $5 million to establish the Foreclosure Prevention Program, which will provide relief to homeowners who rely on income from tenants. 

ICU beds available in Arizona, officials say

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the agency that tracks COVID-19 statistics, 10% of ICU beds are still available in Maricopa County hospitals. That number has been trending upwards since early March.

On March 26, AZDHS reported that 38% of ICU beds were available for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases.  By July 2, only 9% of ICU beds had been available in Maricopa County.  

“Banner still has capacity for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients at our Arizona hospitals,” Becky Armendariz, the Senior Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Banner Health, said in an email.  

“This is largely due to our continued efforts to increase staffing and expand bed capacity.”

RELATED: Arizona hospitals say they have ICU beds for potential coronavirus patients

Arizona announces plans for coronavirus testing surge

Health officials plan to boost Arizona’s coronavirus testing with free screenings in two low-income Phoenix neighborhoods.

State officials said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will test up to 5,000 people per day beginning Friday in South Phoenix and Maryvale. 

Both are areas where people have reported hours-long waits in the scorching heat for tests. 

The surge testing is scheduled to last 12 days. 

The above article is from The Associated Press. 

Arizona nurses ratify first-ever RN union contract in the state

Registered nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson voted to approve their first contract with the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United.

It was also the first contract ever for registered nurses in the state of Arizona.

“This contract is a culmination of all the collective actions and the union strength of our nurses. What we have achieved here will give nurses at St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s a voice in patient care and working conditions moving forward,” Christine Valenzuela, an ICU registered nurse at St. Mary’s, said in a statement.

The three-year contract runs through May 31, 2023. 

Arizona ban on evictions set to end as heat, infections soar

Housing advocacy groups have joined lawmakers in lobbying Arizona's governor to extend his coronavirus-related moratorium on evictions.

It will expire next week and allow authorities to start forcibly removing hundreds of renters in a state that’s a national hot spot for both infections and scorching summer weather. 

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s order ending July 22 was supposed to ensure people wouldn't lose their homes if they got COVID-19 or lost jobs in the pandemic's economic fallout. 

He says he doesn’t intend to extend the order. 

States from Nevada to Virginia also have recently lifted or are about to end moratoriums on rent payments and foreclosures. 

The above article is from The Associated Press. 

Arizona teachers want school closures as virus cases rise

Several Arizona teachers voiced fears from their cars about returning to school in a state that continues to be ravaged by the coronavirus.

Nearly 20 cars with painted messages like #Return2SchoolSafely traveled in a short procession Wednesday in central Phoenix. 

It was one of six “motor marches” organized by members of the Arizona #RedforEd group calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to close schools until case numbers trend downward. 

Currently, public schools are ordered to delay the start of the classes at least until Aug. 17.

The above article is from The Associated Press. 

RELATED: 'I'm not optimistic:' Arizona's top educator unsure if schools will reopen in person Aug. 17

Navajo Nation cases grow by 80, 4 more deaths

The Navajo Department of Health reported 80 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and four more deaths. 

The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 8,370. 

The total number of deaths has reached 405 as of Wednesday.

Reports indicate that approximately 6,184 individuals have recovered from COVID-19.

69,068 people have been tested for COVID-19.

Masks required in public

Gov. Doug Ducey allowed individual Arizona cities to create their own policies about face-covering requirements and enforcement.  

A face covering has proven to be effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19, according to the CDC. The virus is primarily spread by in-person contact through sneezes and coughs.

Many cities, including Phoenix, have adopted their own mask requirement that is now in effect.

RELATED: Does wearing a mask pose any health risks?

RELATED: These are the Arizona cities, counties and communities that have mask requirements

RELATED: Arizona mask requirement frequently asked questions

Arizona releases ZIP code locations of coronavirus cases, other data

The Arizona Department of Health Services has released expanded data points regarding coronavirus cases in the state. 

The AZDHS website now features the location of confirmed cases in Arizona by zip code. 

You can see the current ZIP code map here and can find yours by clicking around or searching for your ZIP code in the top right of the map.

More information on coronavirus cases from Thursday

There have been 134,613 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona and 2,492 coronavirus-related deaths.

That is an increase from 131,354 cases and 2,434 coronavirus-related deaths reported as of Wednesday.

That's an increase of 3,259 new cases reported on Thursday, a very slight increase from the 3,257 new cases reported on Wednesday. 

There were 58 new deaths reported on Thursday, a decrease from the 97 deaths reported on Wednesday. 

There were 5,385 cases reported on the collection date of June 29, the day with the most collected diagnoses so far. That is subject to change.

Health officials said the day with the highest number of reported deaths was June 30, when 55 people died. That is subject to change.

In total, 15,532 new tests were reported on Thursday, a decrease from the 15,636 new tests reported on Wednesday.

There have been a total of 951,809 PCR and Serology tests reported to the state as of Thursday. 

12.1% of those tests have been positive, an increase from the 12% on Wednesday. 

Here's a county breakdown:

  • Maricopa: 88,954
  • Pima: 12,697
  • Pinal: 6,243
  • Coconino: 2,581
  • Navajo: 4,598
  • Apache: 2,658
  • Mohave: 2,108
  • La Paz: 422
  • Yuma: 8,949
  • Graham: 236
  • Cochise: 1,140
  • Santa Cruz: 2,251
  • Yavapai: 1,254
  • Gila: 482
  • Greenlee: 40

Click on the links below to find more information from each county's health department: 

COVID-19 is believed to be primarily spread through coughs or sneezes. 

It may be possible for the virus to spread by touching a surface or object with the virus and then a person touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main method of spread, the CDC says. 

You should consult your doctor if you traveled to an area currently affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. 

There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, so the best way to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases is to:

  • Wear face coverings while in public.
  • Practice social distancing while in public.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

You can text FACTS to 602-444-1212 to receive more information on the coronavirus and to ask questions.

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