Arizona virus death toll tops 8K with 2nd-largest daily rise

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2020, file photo, healthcare workers ready COVID-19 tests for examination at a drive-thru testing center in Phoenix. Arizona's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak passed the 8,000 mark on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, as the state reported an additional 153 known deaths, the second-highest daily increase during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona remains a national COVID-19 hot spot with health officials on Sunday reporting more than 11,000 new cases for the third consecutive day plus 105 more deaths.

That pushed the state’s grim figures to 618,546 cases and 10,141 known deaths since the pandemic began.

Arizona Department of Health Services officials reported 11,021 new COVID-19 cases Sunday. There were 11,650 cases and 197 more deaths reported Friday with 11,094 additional cases and 98 deaths Saturday.

Pinal County reported 194 new cases and one additional death. That brings the county totals to 33,154 cases and 418 deaths.

As of Saturday, Arizona had the second-highest coronavirus case rate and death rate per capita nationally in the last seven days, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Leaders of Arizona’s biggest hospital systems and others have repeatedly called on Gov. Doug Ducey to implement tighter restrictions to stop the virus’ spread.

They have urged a statewide mask mandate, a temporary ban on indoor dining and closing bars and gyms.

But Ducey has rejected those calls, saying local officials should enforce existing restrictions.

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