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COVID-19 infections dip slightly in Coconino County as statewide deaths surge

COVID-19 test
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File
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In this Dec. 8, 2020, file photo, vehicles line up as people wait for COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru testing center in Phoenix.

COVID-19 infections in Coconino County dipped slightly in the third week of January. But cases locally and statewide continue to remain at their highest levels of the pandemic.

Coconino County health officials Friday reported nearly 2,892 new known COVID cases between Jan. 16 and 22. It’s down from the previous week’s pandemic high point of 3,550, but still four times higher than the same week during last year’s January surge.

According to the county’s weekly update, the greatest numbers of new infections were in Flagstaff and tribal communities. Earlier this week, Navajo Nation officials issued a health advisory for 91 reservation communities because of uncontrolled spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, in Mohave County health officials on Thursday confirmed 1,173 new known infections and 11 COVID deaths since the beginning of the week. And Yavapai County on Friday reported 1,625 additional infections and 28 deaths since Monday.

The omicron variant continues to drive a statewide spike. Arizona reported its highest single-day death toll of the pandemic on Wednesday at 275.

According to the Arizona Public Health Association, the state has the second-highest number of COVID fatalities per 100,000 people in the U.S. behind only Mississippi. The group says Arizona could have the highest rate in the nation by mid-February.

The Arizona Department of Health Services, however, says the Association’s report is based on incomplete data.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.