Arizona weekly COVID-19 update adds 8,505 cases, 65 deaths

Reported COVID-19 cases in Arizona declined by 30% last week, and the percentage of tests returning positive for the virus dropped too, the state’s weekly update says.

Health officials on Wednesday added 8,505 new COVID-19 cases and 65 new known deaths over the weeklong period ending Aug. 13. June and July saw relatively similar weekly case additions, and Wednesday’s was the lowest reported since May. 

Case counts are still far below the winter, state data shows. Case numbers in recent months likely are not showing the full picture of infections as many more people have used at-home test kits and may not report positive results to their doctors or county health departments. 

Arizona, like other states, is still seeing ongoing cases, largely driven by two contagious subvariants of the virus, BA.4 and BA.5, with BA.5 the more dominant of the two. It’s also likely contributing to reinfections given its contagiousness and ability to evade antibodies. 

A new booster version of the COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the BA.5 subvariant is under review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may be available to anyone in the U.S. who is over the age of 12, “in a few short weeks,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told NBC News on Aug. 17.

weekly updates to the state’s data dashboard, instead of daily updates that Arizonans became accustomed to following for the latest data on infections, illnesses and deaths.

The previous week’s update added 12,224 cases and 81 deaths, compared with 13,501 cases and 59 deaths three weeks ago and 15,034 cases and 74 deaths four weeks ago.

This week’s update shows the differences between data reported for the week of Aug. 14-20 and Aug. 7-13.

Health officials say weekly updates match how public health monitors trends and other disease reporting. 

Case numbers generally were relatively lower in the past couple of months, and public health experts estimate cases of the highly contagious omicron variant peaked in Arizona around mid-January.

The state data dashboard no longer shows key hospitalization information since Gov. Doug Ducey ended the COVID-19 emergency declaration March 30. State health officials said hospitals are no longer required to report some COVID-19 surveillance data to the state, meaning certain graphs showing weekly hospitalization levels for the disease and bed usage by COVID-19 patients are no longer updated.