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COVID daily case counts, hospitalizations rising in Arizona

July 15, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona on Thursday reported 1,014 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases as the state’s rate of daily new cases and number of virus-related hospitalizations both continued to climb.

The additional cases and seven deaths reported Thursday on the state Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard raised the state’s pandemic totals to 904,865 cases and 18,083 deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases increased over the past two weeks from 550 on June 29 to 795 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Arizona on Wednesday reported 1,945 additional cases but state officials said that large figure included some results delayed from Monday and Tuesday due to a since-fixed bug in the reporting system.

The state’s dashboard reported that 689 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as Wednesday, up from 602 on Sunday, 643 on Monday and 669 on Tuesday.

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Arizona’s COVID-19 hospitalization counts generally ranged between 500 and 600 during most of May and June.

Public health officials have attributed recent increases in COVID-19 cases to several factors, including the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings.

Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey is contesting two school districts’ policy to quarantine unvaccinated students exposed to the virus for 10 days. Kaitlin Harrier, Ducey’s education policy advisor, said in a letter Wednesday to the Peoria Unified and Catalina Foothills school superintendents that the policy goes against state law.

The law says a school district or charter school cannot require a student or teacher to get the vaccine or wear a face mask to participate in in-person learning, according to Harrier.

“Adding on these qualifiers and keeping kids out of their classrooms for 10 days at a time contrary to the law is not in anyone’s best interest,” Harrier wrote.

Both school districts said in separate statements that they were simply following guidelines from state and county public health officials, but they are open to having their policies reviewed.