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New Arizona COVID-19 cases over 7,600 due to holiday lag

December 27, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s latest number of daily new COVID-19 cases appears extraordinarily high only because of a lag in reporting over the Christmas holiday.

The state coronavirus dashboard reported 7,641 new confirmed cases but no deaths Monday. This comes after a tally of only 344 cases and no deaths a day earlier.

Steve Elliott, state Department of Health Services spokesman, says no virus data was processed on Christmas Day. That’s why the number of cases on Sunday was so low. The daily case counts will likely be high for the next few days as the dashboard catches up.

Since the pandemic started, Arizona has seen 1,362,693 cases and 23,982 deaths.

As of Sunday, there were 2,327 patients with COVID-19 hospitalized statewide. Of those, 630 were in intensive care.

—In other developments:

Pima County leaders are trying to figure out ways to decrease their jail population in anticipation of several corrections officers and staff refusing to get vaccinated.

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Friday is the deadline for county employees to meet a vaccine mandate or be fired. Around 36% of the 420 corrections staff are still not vaccinated, the Arizona Daily Star reported. Pima County Attorney Laura Conover hopes to whittle down the number of inmates from 1,639 to 1,300.

Strategies the county will use include temporarily not charging people for simple drug possession and granting a monitored release to non-violent offenders awaiting trial.