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Coronavirus in Arizona on Dec. 30: 5,267 new cases, 78 new deaths reported

There have been 512,489 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 8,718 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Arizona as of Wednesday.

ARIZONA, USA — 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 Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Major updates: 

  • There have been 512,489 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 8,718 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Arizona as of Wednesday.
  • 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.
  • Go to 12News.com/Vaccine to find more information on the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Scroll down to see how many cases are in each ZIP code and additional information.
  • Phoenix-area hospitals activate diversions
  • Banner Health halts elective surgeries 

5,267 new cases, 78 new deaths reported Wednesday

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 5,267 new cases and 78 new deaths on Wednesday.

AZDHS reported 2,799 new cases and 171 new deaths on Tuesday.

AZDHS said of the 171 deaths reported Tuesday, 148 are due to the death certificate matching process.

Health officials said the new case count was higher than usual on Monday because of the holiday weekend and multiple COVID-19 case reviews were completed Sunday.  

Tuesday was the second-highest day for reported deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The highest was 172 deaths reported on July 30. 

Maricopa County health officials said they have given out 8,175 COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday.

Arizona’s cases, deaths and hospitalizations were already steadily rising before Thanksgiving, when gatherings and travel were expected to further spread the coronavirus.

The department reports the number of new cases on the day the cases were reported to them by counties and hospitals, not on the day when someone was diagnosed with the virus.

Arizona reached 400,000 coronavirus cases on Dec. 12, 300,000 on Nov. 23, 200,000 on Aug. 27, 100,000 on July 6 and 50,000 cases on June 21. The state reached 8,000 coronavirus deaths on Dec. 22, 7,000 on Dec. 9, 6,000 on Nov. 3, 5,000 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 1.04 as of Sunday, down from 1.07 on Saturday.

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: Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new coronavirus variant?

There were 8,174 cases reported on the collection date of Dec. 14, the day with the most collected diagnoses so far. The day with the second-most collected diagnoses so far was on Nov. 30, with 7,838 cases. That is subject to change.

Health officials said the day with the highest number of reported deaths was July 17, when 103 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.

RELATED: Number of total COVID-19 cases in Arizona now over 500,000

There were 8,174 cases reported on the collection date of Dec. 14, the day with the most collected diagnoses so far. The day with the second-most collected diagnoses so far was on Nov. 30, with 7,838 cases. That is subject to change.

Health officials said the day with the highest number of reported deaths was July 17, when 103 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 issues order to speed up vaccine distribution

The new order directs the Arizona Department of Health Services to implement a state-directed allocation model to have a universal approach for vaccine distribution

The order, according to Ducey’s office, expands access to the vaccine by streamlining distribution and establishing additional vaccination sites.

A spokesperson with Ducey’s office told 12 News earlier in the day that the pace of Arizona’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is not going as quickly as they’d like and “the vaccine is not doing anyone good sitting in a refrigerator.”

Read the full order here.

Banner Phoenix-area hospitals activate diversions, halt elective surgeries

On Wednesday, Banner Health said it would halt elective surgeries beginning Friday, Jan. 1 due to an influx in patients this week.

The health system announced Tuesday that due to an influx of patients in the past 48 hours, some Phoenix-area hospitals have activated diversions.

Banner says on Monday, 10 Phoenix-area hospitals were actively diverting patients to other hospitals and on Tuesday morning, six Phoenix-area hospitals are currently on diversion.

This means these hospitals are closed to incoming emergency transports and transfers from other hospitals while they work to treat a backlog of patients. 

Banner Health says the diversion doesn't apply for patients walking in seeking emergency care. While Banner says it is not abnormal for hospitals to go on diversion in the winter when the patient volume is higher, it isn't normal for so many hospitals to be on diversion at the same time. 

The length of stay and complexity of care with COVID-19 patients has contributed to the need for multiple hospitals to go on diversion.

Banner Health says walk in patients will not be turned away but wait times may be longer.

Elderly Arizonans prioritized for second phase of vaccinations 

Arizonans 75 and older are now prioritized to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the second phase of distribution following a decision made by a panel of state, local, and tribal experts, including members of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).

“One of Arizona’s top priorities since the start of the pandemic has been to protect our most vulnerable,” said Governor Doug Ducey. 

Those 75 and older will now be eligible for vaccination in the next phase, which also includes education and childcare workers and members of protective services occupations. 

This group is referred to as prioritized phase 1B. ADHS anticipates moving into prioritized phase 1B mid to late January statewide. Some counties may move into this phase earlier. 

Right now, healthcare workers are being vaccinated throughout the state. 

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.

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.

Navajo Nation releases new case numbers

The Navajo Department of Health reported 122 new cases and 10 new deaths Tuesday. 

The death toll is now 777 since the beginning of the pandemic with 22,277 total cases. 

The stay-at-home lockdown is continuing and the nation is re-implementing the 57-hour weekend lockdown.

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 Wednesday

There have been 512,489 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 8,718 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Arizona.

That's an increase from the 507,222 confirmed cases and 8,640 coronavirus-related deaths reported on Tuesday.

There were 5,267 new cases reported on Wednesday, an increase from the 2,799 new cases reported on Tuesday.

There were 78 new deaths reported on Wednesday, a decrease from 171 new deaths reported on Tuesday. 

There were 8,174 cases reported on the collection date of Dec. 14, the day with the most collected diagnoses so far. The day with the second-most collected diagnoses so far was on Nov. 30, with 7,838 cases. That is subject to change.

Health officials said the day with the highest number of reported deaths was July 17, when 103 people died. That is subject to change.

In total, 18,520 new tests were reported on Wednesday, an increase from the 11,752 new tests reported on Tuesday.

There have been a total of 3,202,150 PCR and Serology tests reported to the state as of Wednesday. 

12.1% of those tests have been positive as of Wednesday, the same as Tuesday.

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

  • Maricopa: 314,464
  • Pima: 68,437
  • Pinal: 27,191
  • Coconino: 10,982
  • Navajo: 11,196
  • Apache: 7,336
  • Mohave: 12,108
  • La Paz: 1,387
  • Yuma: 27,115
  • Graham: 3,180
  • Cochise: 7,324
  • Santa Cruz: 5,857
  • Yavapai: 11,101
  • Gila: 4,419
  • Greenlee: 392

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.