Arizona stadium opens as mass vaccination site as cases soar

Emily Alexander, 37, shows her COVID-19 vaccination card shortly after getting the vaccine in the parking lot of the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. The Arizona Cardinals' stadium opened as a vaccination site Monday that will be a 24-7 operation. (AP Photo/Terry Tang)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona on Tuesday set a new one-day record for daily deaths from COVID-19 as hospitalizations from the surge topped 5,000 for the first time.

The state Department of Health Services reported 335 new deaths from COVID-19, 29 of them in Pinal County, with 232 of those attributed to COVID-19 after the latest periodic reviews of past death certificates.

With its health care system struggling to cope, Arizona had a record 5,082 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Monday, including a record 1,183 in intensive care beds. COVID-19 patients occupied 66% of all intensive care beds statewide and 59% of all inpatient beds.

Arizona remains the U.S. state with the worst COVID-19 diagnosis rate, with one out of every 109 residents diagnosed with the disease. The diagnosis rate is calculated as the total state population divided by the number of new cases over the past week.

The state had a record 5,082 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Monday, including a record 1,1983 in intensive care beds, as COVID-19 patients occupied 66% of all intensive care bed statewide and 59% of all inpatient beds.

Pinal County reported 1,015 new cases bringing its total to 34,653.

The state’s previous daily deaths record was 297 and was reported just five days earlier, on Jan. 5. That report also included many from death certificate reviews.

The state on Tuesday also reported 8,559 additional known COVID-19 cases as the pandemic totals increased to 636,100 cases and 10,482 deaths.

The state's seven-day rolling average of daily deaths more than doubled over the past two weeks, increasing from 71 per day on Dec. 28 to 154.7 on Monday.

The rolling average of daily new confirmed cases rose from 6,154 to 9,428.4 during the same period, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and The COVID Tracking Project.

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

Arizona has entered the second phase of its vaccination program and officials are offering doses to law enforcement personnel, teachers and people age 75 and older.

The state on Monday opened a new vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale. Officials said it will provide shots to thousands of people daily.

Gov. Doug Ducey during his annual state-of-the-state address Monday hardened his resistance to school and business closures. Ducey, a Republican, warned that schools losing students during the pandemic would face funding cuts.

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