PHOENIX — State health officials added 14,888 confirmed COVID-19 cases overnight, the second-largest report since the pandemic began in March of 2020. With the omicron variant now spreading rapidly in Arizona, cases are back to 2020 levels and are expected to surpass last winter’s peak in the coming weeks.
COVID-19 hospitalization trends have consistently followed movement in cases with about a seven-day lag.
While hospitalizations are on the rise, the increase has so far been more muted when compared to 2020. Arizona hospital systems reported that there are 2,562 suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases occupying non-ICU beds in the state, an 11% rise from last week.
The number is a little more than half of the COVID-19 occupancy at the same time last year.
Data collected by Department of Health and Human Services shows COVID-19 suspected and confirmed daily admissions are on the rise.
Adult admissions hit a 90-day high on January 5 with 516 admits. In early October, the state was seeing daily admissions just under 300. Pediatric COVID-19 admissions, always a much lower number, reached 22, a similar number was seen just after the Thanksgiving holiday.
A pressing concern facing hospitals is staffing shortages.
Data shows that 40 of 114 reporting hospitals indicate that they are experiencing critical staffing shortages for two consecutive days. A similar number of hospitals reported critical staffing shortages in late December that lasted for eleven days.
The public dataset curated by HHS does not notate which hospitals were reporting staff shortages.
Models from the University of Washington forecast a continued rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations until the middle of February.