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Arizona's weekly COVID-19 trends show slight improvements

COVID-19 is still widespread in Arizona, but the state's outbreak is showing signs of slowing down. The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 13,501 cases in its  weekly update Wednesday — the lowest case count in nine weeks. 

Medical experts say cases are almost certainly being vastly undercounted recently because of the prevalence of at-home tests. But other COVID-19 indicators in Arizona improved slightly this week, too.

The positivity rate among COVID-19 tests reported in the state is now 25%. That’s still considered very high, but it is the lowest rate the state has reported since early June.

COVID-19 hospital bed use in the state is also down slightly. The  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports COVID-19 patients currently occupy just over 4% of inpatient and ICU beds in Arizona's hospitals. 

The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports improvement in Arizona. As of last week, the CDC ranked 10 of Arizona’s 15 counties in its "high" category for community transmission. Now, just 5 counties remain at the high level. Maricopa County and three others have been downgraded to “low.”

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.