Banner Health hospitals, ICUs are filling up in Phoenix area

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2020, file photo, vehicles line up at patrons wait for COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru testing center in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — Arizona on Tuesday reported a record number of additional COVID-19 deaths along with new hospitalization highs as cases surge in the state with the fastest-growing rate of new infections.

The Department of Health Services reported 253 additional deaths, exceeding the previously one-day record of 172 reported on July 30. The state also reported 5,932 additional COVID-19 cases, raising the state’s totals since the pandemic began to 567,474 cases and 9,317 deaths.

Pinal County reported 918 new cases and 14 additional deaths. That brings the county totals to 30,272 and 385 deaths so far.

State health officials said the additional deaths included 215 newly attributed to COVID-19 through a periodic reviews of death certificates. The agency could not specify when the 215 deaths occurred, Department spokeswoman Holly Poynter said.

A record 4,789 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital beds Monday, an increase of more than 200 from Sunday, according to the state’s coronavirus data. Monday also saw a record 1,096 COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds.

Arizona on Sunday reported a record one-day total of 17,234 additional cases. As of Tuesday, the state had the worst COVID-19 diagnosis rate in the nation with one person in every 126 people being diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past week.

The diagnosis rate is calculated by dividing a state's population by the number of new cases.

Arizona's hospitals have been stressed by the surge, with some stopping elective surgeries and turning away ambulance runs and hospital transfers while still accepting walk-in patients needing emergency care.

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.

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