Arizona reports record spike in new coronavirus cases and deaths ahead of Pence’s visit

Health, Fitness & Food

People prepare to go tubing on Salt River amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Arizona, U.S., June 27, 2020.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

The Arizona Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported nearly 4,900 new coronavirus cases and 88 new deaths, a record single-day jump in both grim markers ahead of Vice President Mike Pence‘s visit to the state later in the day. 

The coronavirus has infected a total of 84,092 people and killed 1,720 people in Arizona so far. The state’s previous single-day high in the number of additional cases was 3,593 on June 23 ahead of President Donald Trump‘s scheduled event in Phoenix. 

While an increase in Covid-19 testing and a potential lag in data reporting of the daily case numbers could account for the rise in positive cases, the number of hospitalizations in Arizona has steadily increased over the past weeks. 

According to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, Arizona as of Tuesday reported 2,516 people currently hospitalized on a seven-day average, a near 35% increase compared with a week ago. 

Arizona is nearing max capacity of intensive care unit beds with 1,495, or 89%, of the state’s ICU beds in use as of Tuesday. The number of ventilators being used at hospitals also reached a record high of 795, according to the state’s department of health. 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey rolled back the state’s reopening plans and closed all bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks Monday. He said Arizona will try to restart the businesses in 30 days. 

“We can’t be under any illusion that this virus is going to go away on its own. Our expectation is that next week our numbers will be worse. It will take several weeks for the mitigation that we have put in place and are putting in place to take effect,” Ducey said. 

Claudia Clemente, MA, performs a test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a part of Valle del Sol’s testing at Tolleson Fire Department Station 161 in Tolleson, Arizona, U.S. June 18, 2020.

Courtney Pedroza | Reuters

The record surge in daily coronavirus cases comes as Pence is scheduled to arrive in Phoenix later on Wednesday to meet Ducey to discuss the state’s effort to curb the spread of the virus. The trip was pushed back by a day. 

Last weekend, Pence postponed his “Faith in America” 2020 campaign events in Arizona and Florida “out of an abundance of caution.” No new dates for the tour have been disclosed but the vice president announced that he will still travel to Texas, Arizona and Florida this week to meet governors and health experts about response efforts to Covid-19. 

— CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report. 

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