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Arizona reports lowest number of COVID-19 cases in 5 weeks

The Arizona Department of Health Services added 8,281 COVID-19 cases in its  weekly update Wednesday — that's the lowest count in five weeks. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have downgraded the COVID-19 community levels for much of the state.

As of last week, the CDC ranked all but one of Arizona’s counties in the high category for COVID-19. This week, Maricopa and seven other counties have  dropped back to medium.

But Arizona is still seeing the eighth-highest number of cases per capita among states,  according to the CDC. And, according to the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a greater percentage of Arizona’s hospital beds are still filled by COVID-19 patients than the national average. COVID patients currently occupy more than 7% of inpatient beds in Arizona, compared to about 6% nationally. 

Other respiratory viruses remain widespread in Arizona, too. Flu cases are still more than 10 times higher than what’s typical for this time of year, according to the  latest data from the state health department.

Medical experts continue to strongly recommend Arizonans get up-to-date on COVID-19 boosters and flu vaccines. And with holidays approaching, they urge Arizonans to avoid gatherings if you’re feeling sick.

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