There were 6,299 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Arizona on Wednesday, and there were 81 newly reported deaths. This brings the total of COVID-19-related deaths in Arizona to 21,044. Of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, 9% statewide are available and 25% are currently in use by COVID-19 patients.
This information comes from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) COVID-19 data dashboard.
A report from the Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA) found that COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in Arizona and likely has been since the beginning of the pandemic in March of last year. An AzPHA member compiled the report using the ADHS COVID-19 data dashboard and the CDC Wonder database. The report finds that when COVID-19 deaths were annualized, Arizona had a per capita death rate higher than both heart disease and cancer, according to ABC15.
Arizona is catching up to New York for per capita deaths, which is concerning as the lion’s share of New York COVID-19-related deaths occurred early on in the pandemic, before mitigation practices or vaccines were developed. The Washington Post reports that the average daily deaths remain lower than during the second wave last January, but Arizona experienced a 138% increase in the seven-day rolling average of daily new deaths last week. From AzPHA Director Will Humble:
Nationwide, new U.S. cases are down 60% from the peak of the surge driven by the Delta variant, according to data compiled by the Washington Post. The seven-day average of infections was 69,000, which reflects a 58% drop from the peak of the surge in mid-September.
In order to combat COVID-19 misinformation among refugee communities in Arizona, Valleywise Health announced the creation of 11 educational videos in 11 languages to increase vaccine awareness and reduce misinformation. From Dr. Crista Johnson Agbakwu, founding director of the Refugee Womens Health Clinic and a physician with District Medical Group:
There is tremendous vaccine hesitancy in the refugee community and a lot of misinformation. We really wanted to combat that with factual information in a very digestible manner and in their native language.
AZ vs. OSHA
Last week, federal labor officials told Arizona, South Carolina and Utah that they would remove those states’ authority to regulate workplace safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) intervention is based on a June emergency standard for health care workers that includes requirements for physical distancing, cleaning, personal protective equipment, ventilation and a number of other mitigating efforts against COVID-19 spread. From OSHA acting director Jim Frederick:
OSHA has worked in good faith to help these three states come into compliance, but their continued refusal is a failure to maintain their state plan commitment to thousands of workers in their state.
According to Pew, Trevor Laky, the legislative affairs chief for the Industrial Commission of Arizona which oversees health and safety laws, claims that Arizona has made efforts to comply, but officials are committed to putting the standards through Arizona rule-making procedure with full public comment.
According to JDSupra, the three states could simply adopt the COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS), which would likely end the dispute.