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Coronavirus in Arizona on Oct. 15: 1,113 new cases, 17 new deaths reported Thursday

There have been 228,748 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5,789 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Arizona as of Thursday.

PHOENIX — Editor's note: Here's the live blog for Oct. 16.

In an effort to track the changes with the coronavirus outbreak in Arizona, 12 News has started a daily live blog.

Here is the live blog for Thursday, Oct. 15.

Major updates: 

  • There have been 228,748 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5,789 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Arizona as of Thursday.
  • The state does not record how many people have recovered, but Johns Hopkins University estimates the number of people who have recovered.
  • You can find COVID-19 testing sites here.
  • 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 228,748 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5,789 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Arizona, according to the state's latest numbers.

That is an increase from 227,635 cases and 5,772 coronavirus-related deaths reported as of Wednesday.

A week ago, there were 223,401 cases and 5,743 deaths reported in Arizona.

LEER EN ESPANOL: Coronavirus en Arizona el 15 de octubre: 1,113 casos nuevos y 19 decesos se reportan el jueves

1,113 new cases, 17 new deaths reported Thursday

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 1,113 new cases and 17 new deaths on Thursday.

Arizona reached 200,000 coronavirus cases on Aug. 27, 100,000 on July 6 and 50,000 cases on June 21. The state reached 5,000 coronavirus deaths on Aug. 29, 4,000 on Aug. 6, 3,000 deaths on July 23, 2,000 on July 9 and 1,000 on June 5.

Arizona's Rt, pronounced r-naught, was at 1.07 on Tuesday, up from 1.00 on Monday.

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 5,469 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 July 17, when 101 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.

Phoenix Union schools report positive cases

Three Phoenix Union Schools reported positive virus cases among staff and a student-athlete Thursday.

A student on the Betty H. Fairfax High School football team tested positive, and the campus immediately ceased all sports activities and began contact tracing.

Sports practices and games resumed after all people who possibly came in contact with the student were asked to quarantine for two weeks.

Meanwhile, office workers at Alhambra High School and the Academies at South Mountain High School were possibly exposed to the virus after individuals showing symptoms or who encountered an infected person went through the halls.

The office has been closed and will be cleaned. The offices will reopen on Monday, October 19.

All schools have notified people who were possibly exposed.

Phoenix Union students have been exclusively on remote learning since the pandemic and will continue to do so at least through December.

Eight more students test positive at Chaparral High School

All eight students who tested positive here on campus and in classes on Monday and Tuesday this week. The new cases do not include the five previous reported cases. 

The Maricopa County Department of Health will be contacting people who were in contact with the students and instructing them to do a 14-day quarantine. 

Free COVID-19 testing to be held Saturday in Buckeye

South Wellness partnered with Maricopa County to offer free COVID-19 testing in Buckeye over the next two weekends.

The testing will be offered at Buckeye Union High School from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday and Oct. 24. 

It's a drive-thru test and people should get results within 72 hours. 

You're asked to register online and bring your ID if you can.

Arizona's daily average of virus cases rose in last 2 weeks

The average number of confirmed daily coronavirus cases in Arizona has risen over the last two weeks, concerning an Arizona State University public health expert.

The state's average number of cases increased from 476 per day on Sept. 29 to 685 on Oct. 13. 

Arizona averaged more than 4,000 additional cases per day in late June and early July when it was experiencing its most serious spread of the virus. 

Dr. Joshua LaBaer is executive director of the ASU Biodesign Institute and said Wednesday that the current situation reminds him of June. 

Arizona has recorded 227,635 confirmed virus cases and 5,772 deaths since the pandemic began. 

The above article is from The Associated Press. 

Arizona lawmaker released from hospital after COVID-19 fight

An Arizona lawmaker who was critically ill with COVID-19 has been released from a hospital.

Democratic state Rep. Lorenzo Sierra of Avondale will recover for a few days in the Washington area before returning to Arizona. 

Sierra's wife, Rhonda Cagle, posted the news on Twitter alongside a photo of the couple smiling in a vehicle. 

Sierra spent several days on a ventilator in an intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. 

Sierra and Cagle were visiting relatives in the Washington area when both fell sick with COVID-19.

The above article is from The Associated Press. 

Navajo Nation cases increase by 40, no new deaths

The Navajo Department of Health reported 40 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths.

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 10,780.

The total number of deaths remains 571 as previously reported on Monday. 

Reports indicate that 7,358 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 113,985 COVID-19 tests have been administered.

Combs High School closed after COVID-19 outbreak

Combs High School will close classrooms at least through Oct. 27 after a COVID-19 outbreak was reported.

The school district didn’t specify how many students or staff were infected, but they said that two or more people testing positive is defined as an outbreak by the Pinal County Public Health Department.

“The J.O. Combs Unified School District is committed to implementing proactive measures to protect students and staff from exposure to COVID-19, as well as ensuring transparency so that you have all the information to make informed decisions about your health,” the district said.

The school district came under fire from teachers and staff in August after its governing board voted to reopen classrooms well before ADHS recommended it.

Staff members protested in droves and forced the school district to pause the start of the school year. The board agreed to begin instruction with remote learning.

Classrooms finally reopened on September 8.

All other J.O. Combs schools and offices remain open.

RELATED: J.O. Combs schools switching to online learning after board decision

University of Arizona changes spring break for 2021 

Students at the University of Arizona will not have a proper spring break this year in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the university recently announced. 

The university's Faculty Senate made a motion during their Oct. 5 meeting to "approve (a) proposed one-time adjustment to (the) Spring 2020 calendar to mitigate (the) spread of COVID-19."

The motion was seconded and later passed, according to the Faculty Senate webpage

The move will not change anything about the rest of the spring semester, however. 

Instead of a full week, the university's spring break will be broken down into five individual days.

The following days will be designated as "Reading Days," the university said. 

  • Thursday, February 25, 2021
  • Tuesday, March 9, 2021
  • Wednesday, March 10, 2021
  • Friday, April 2, 2021
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2021

These days will allow students and instructors to take needed breaks during the spring semester. 

Arizona health department sets up hotline to report businesses

The Arizona Department of Health Services has set up two ways for people to report local businesses that are not following COVID-19 guidelines. 

People can report businesses through a hotline or through an online form:

“There’s a role for the public as well: If you believe a business isn’t following these requirements, which were established for the safety of customers, employees, and the broader public, ADHS encourages you to share your concerns so local and state officials can follow up as needed,” AZDHS said in a statement.

RELATED: Arizona’s health department wants you to report businesses that don’t enforce safety requirements

Free masks available for some Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced that some Arizonans would be able to get free masks from the state.

The department partnered with Hanes to provide free face masks to Arizona’s most vulnerable populations.

Anyone who is part of a vulnerable population (including, but not limited to, individuals with medical conditions or individuals age 65 or older), a student (or parents on behalf of students), school staff member or who may not be able to purchase one is able to get a free mask.

Each other will provide five washable, reusable cloth face masks, one order per household. 

The department hopes to give out two million cloth face masks. 

Anyone with questions can visit the department's FAQs page or contact Hanes at 1-800-503-6698.

Sign up for the free masks here.

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 228,748 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 5,789 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Arizona.

That is an increase from 227,635 cases and 5,772 coronavirus-related deaths reported as of Wednesday.

There were 1,113 new cases reported on Thursday, an increase from the 902 reported on Wednesday.

There were 17 new deaths reported on Thursday, an increase from the five reported on Wednesday.

There were 5,469 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 July 17, when 101 people died. That is subject to change.

In total, 12,830 new tests were reported on Thursday, an increase from 9,170 on Wednesday.

There have been a total of 1,905,908 PCR and Serology tests reported to the state as of Thursday. 

10% of those tests have been positive as of Thursday, the same since Monday.

Here's a breakdown of the number of cases in each county:

  • Maricopa: 148,152
  • Pima: 26,727
  • Pinal: 11,203
  • Coconino: 4,629
  • Navajo: 6,120
  • Apache: 3,742
  • Mohave: 4,138
  • La Paz: 577
  • Yuma: 13,092
  • Graham: 977
  • Cochise: 2,005
  • Santa Cruz: 2,935
  • Yavapai: 2,748
  • Gila: 1,633
  • Greenlee: 70

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.