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With 670 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases neared 847,000 as of Thursday, April 8, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 122 new cases today, has seen 113,375 of the state’s 846,900 confirmed cases.

With 32 new deaths reported this morning, a total of 17,055 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 2,366 deaths in Pima County, according to the April 8 report.

A total of 541 coronavirus patients were in the hospital as of April 7. That’s roughly 10.5% of the number hospitalized at the peak of the winter surge, which reached 5,082 on Jan. 11. The summer peak was 3,517, which was set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent lowest number of hospitalized COVID patients was 468, set on Sept. 27, 2020.

A total of 1,022 people visited emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on April 7. That number represents 43.5% of the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. That number had peaked during the summer wave at 2,008 on July 7, 2020; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28, 2020.

A total of 140 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on April 7, which roughly 12% of the record 1,183 ICU patients set on Jan. 11. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22, 2020.

Pima County transitioning to indoor vax sites

As temperatures rise, Pima County officials are shifting to indoor

vaccination sites to avoid making staff and volunteers ensure long days in triple-degree temperatures.

The county has already opened an indoor vaccination Point of Distribution at El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

On Monday, April 12, the county will open a new vaccine site at the Kino Event Center, where they had earlier been doing COVID testing. That site will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Registration for appointments begins tomorrow, Friday, April 9 at azdhs.gov.

The county will also work with TMC to move their drive-thru POD to a walk-through site at the Udall Center at Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road, beginning April 19. Appointments can be made through register.vaccine.pima.gov.

The drive-through POD at Banner-South Kino Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way, will offer appointments between 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning April 17.

"We reached over 500,000 vaccinations in Pima County earlier this week, and we are going to continue our momentum as temperatures rise," said Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Theresa Cullen in a prepared statement. "All these moves will keep the community, the POD workers and the volunteers safe from the heat as we put shots into arms."

UA opening new vaccine appointments daily

The University of Arizona vaccine point of distribution is opening appointments daily, based on cancellations and capacity, university officials announced this week.

“The real limitation was we couldn't get enough vaccines. So we didn't want to have a lot of people standing around, so we only increased our volunteers and our staffing commensurate with the amount of vaccines we could get,” said UA Task Force Director Dr. Richard Carmona. “If we can get more vaccines we can still search even more, hence the 1,000 or so appointments that are out there that are not filled.”

The state vaccination PODs, including the UA POD, expanded eligibility to anyone 16 and older two weeks ago, as they were seeing hundreds of appointments go unfilled. As they release appointments daily, the hope is that no appointments go unfilled, said Carmona.

“We're doing everything we can to use every single one of those vaccinations,” said Carmona. “We don't want to end the day with any vaccinations still in the freezer and not being used.”

The site is averaging about 400 to 500 appointments per day, but last Friday afternoon opened 1,500 appointments.

“That's because we could ramp up our capacity. Our capacity varies daily by the number of vaccinators and pharmacists we can get that actually show up and our number of volunteers,” said UA Vice President of Communications Holly Jensen. “The number of volunteers that it takes to get one person through is about 27 per person that comes through our POD. So all of these things play a huge role in the numbers we can push through every single day.”

UA President Robert C. Robbins said the university is in need of non-medical volunteers as the days grow hotter and volunteers tire out. To volunteer visit covid19.arizona.edu/vaccine and scroll down to “volunteer opportunities.”

Adults older than 16 now eligible for appointments at state and county clinics

Pima County and the state of Arizona have opened vaccine appointments to anyone 16 or older.

You can register for your vaccine appointments at a state POD by visiting pod vaccine.azdhs.gov, and those who need assistance can call 1-844-542-8201.

Register for an appointment at a Pima County POD at pima.gov/covid19vaccineregistration or by calling 520-222-0119.

Many local pharmacies are now receiving vaccine doses. To find one near you, visit the ADHS website.

Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing

Pima County is continuing to offer a number of testing centers around town.

You’ll have a nasal swab test at the Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road.

The center at the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road, involves a saliva test designed by ASU.

Schedule an appointment at these or other drive-thru or pop-up sites at pima.gov/covid19testing.

The University of Arizona’s antibody testing can determine if you have had COVID and now have antibodies. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.

—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Christina Duran, Jeff Gardner and Mike Truelsen

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