Arizona's total of confirmed COVID-19 cases neared 50,000 on Saturday as the state's surge continued to set daily records for hospitalizations, ventilator use and use of intensive care beds for coronavirus patients.
The state Department of Health Services reported 3,109 additional cases, increasing the statewide total to 49,798 along with 1,338 deaths, including 26 reported on Saturday.
The number of in-patient hospitalizations for COVID-19 as of Friday reached 1,938, with 368 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 546 in ICU beds, the department reported. Friday's count of 1,164 emergency room visits for COVID-19 also set a record.
Earlier in the week, Arizona set daily new-case records with 3,246 on Friday, 2,519 cases on Thursday and 2,392 on Tuesday. Arizona has emerged as a national hot spot for the coronavirus since Republican Gov. Doug Ducey lifted his stay-home orders in mid-May.
Health officials have attributed the new cases to increased testing and to community spread of the coronavirus. Saying that data trends were headed in the wrong direction, Ducey on Wednesday reversed himself and allowed local governments to impose requirements for people to wear masks in public to curtail spread of the virus.
Tucson and Flagstaff quickly adopted mask rules and Phoenix and multiple suburbs followed suit on Friday.
Counties that include most of metro Phoenix and metro Tucson also imposed mask requirements. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.