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PHOENIX — With public health officials urging people to take precautions against COVID-19 during upcoming holidays, Arizona on Saturday reported over 5,000 additional confirmed cases for the second day in a row and over 50 deaths for the third straight day.

The additional 5,103 cases and 53 deaths reported by the Department of Health Services' coronavirus dashboard increased the state's pandemic totals to 1,238,249 cases and 21,939 deaths.

Jessica Rigler, the department’s assistant director for public health preparedness, said Friday in a blog post that all people should get vaccinated, wear masks in public indoor settings, physically distance, wash their hands frequently, stay home if sick and get tested if having symptoms or exposure to a person with COVID-19.

“These mitigation recommendations are especially important at holiday gatherings where multiple generations get together, including older people with weaker immune systems,” Rigler wrote.

During October and early November, most of Arizona's daily case reports ranged between 2,000 and 4,000, with a few larger reports attributed to data glitches that lowered reports on previous days.

However, Rigler said, the 5,070 additional cases reported Friday “don’t have an asterisk. COVID-19 cases are rising.”

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rose over the past two weeks, increasing from 2,809.7 on Nov. 4 to 3,685.4 on Thursday. The rolling average of daily deaths rose from 36 to 40.9 during the same period.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations also are rising, with 2,419 virus patients occupying inpatient beds as of Friday.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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