Arizona health officials on March 15 reported no new COVID-19 deaths and 638 more confirmed cases, one of the lowest figures in months.

The state Department of Health Services released the latest numbers, bringing the totals since the pandemic started to 833,381 cases and 16,553 deaths.

It’s not clear if the low case count is because of hospitals sometimes lagging on reporting data on weekends.

Still, even the number of COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds continues to drop. As of Sunday, 716 people were hospitalized due to the virus. Of those, 210 were in ICU beds. The last time those figures were that low was October.

MORE: 1st case of Brazilian COVID-19 variant detected in Arizona, officials say

Data from Johns Hopkins University indicated that seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases and daily deaths declined over the past two weeks.

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.

Meanwhile, many Arizona schools reopened for full-time in-person instruction Monday as mandated by Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order. Earlier this month, the Republican governor announced schools had to return to in-person learning by March 15 or after their spring break. He cited teachers getting vaccinated as a main factor.

Ducey has said he believes Arizona can meet President Joe Biden’s declaration that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by May.

To bring attention to the increasing vaccination effort, Dr. Cara Christ, director of the state Department of Health Services, is expected to administer the 500,000th dose at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Monday. The around-the-clock, state-run vaccination site has been praised as a model.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily


Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

MORE: How to sign up and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

MORE: Maricopa County COVID-19 vaccine status updates

MORE: Arizona Dept. of Health COVID-19 vaccine prioritization

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms – don’t go straight to your doctor’s office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

Continuing Coverage

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