Arizona in Brief: Arizona reports 2,855 new COVID-19 cases, 27 more deaths
Arizona health officials are reporting 2,855 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and another 27 related deaths.
The state Department of Health Services dashboard released the new figures Thursday morning. This brings the totals for Arizona since the pandemic’s onset to 1,058,774 cases and 19,360 deaths.
Since Aug. 30, hospitalizations due to the virus have hovered just above 2,000. As of Wednesday, 2,050 patients were hospitalized.
Hospital systems throughout the state say unvaccinated individuals continue to make up the majority of their caseload.
Currently, 4.1 million people in Arizona — or 57.1% of the eligible population — have received at least one dose of a vaccine. More than 3.6 million have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Banner Health, the biggest hospital chain serving Arizona, warned against using the anti-parasitic medicine ivermectin to ward off the virus. Last month Banner’s poison center dealt with 10 cases of people using the medicine, which does not have FDA approval. Some of the cases were serious enough to require hospitalization, said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, Banner’s chief clinical officer.
Ivermectin is being tested in drug trials as a COVID-19 treatment. It is typically sometimes prescribed for worms, scabies and head lice. It’s more popular as a treatment for parasitic infections and infestations in livestock.
“Please speak with your primary care provider about treatment options for COVID, and do not attempt to purchase drugs like Ivermectin through unauthorized sources,” Bessel said.
Arizona utility: Really wet summer follows very dry winter
PHOENIX (AP) — The second-driest winter on record in the Salt River Project’s watershed was followed by a monsoon that the water and power utility said was the second-wettest since it started keeping records nearly 110 years ago.
The 2021 monsoon provided nearly 250,000 acre-feet (80 billion gallons) of inflow into the utility’s reservoirs on the the Salt and Verde rivers during July and August, falling just short of being the all-time wettest monsoon, Salt River Project said in a statement Wednesday.
An acre-foot of water is enough to cover an acre with one foot of water. The SRP says that’s about 325,000 gallons (1,230,258 liters), or enough to meet the average demand of about three households in metro Phoenix for a year.
“We know we have great climate variability in the Southwest,” said Charlie Ester, manager of SRP watershed management. “The past two seasons demonstrate that by producing the second driest winter season ever followed by the second wettest summer season ever.”
SRP provides nearly all of the metro area’s water supply, serving about 2 million people.
Man who died in custody after running nude in Phoenix ID’d
PHOENIX (AP) — A man who was running through Phoenix streets naked before being restrained by police and then dying while in custody has been identified, authorities said.
Officers received reports of a man without clothes running north of downtown Friday around 12:45 a.m.
Responding officers said they found 28-year-old Jessee Rickman acting erratically and making nonsensical statements.
Police said Rickman didn’t comply with officers’ attempts to get him out of the road and additional help was requested.
Rickman began to kick and spit as officers tried to contain him on the ground, prompting them to put him in handcuffs and apply a leg restraint as well as a spit mask over his head, police said.
Officers first placed Rickman on his side but was later taken to the curb and put in a seated position.
As paramedics were rendering aid, police said Rickman became nonverbal and unresponsive. The restraints were removed and Rickman was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Police said Rickman was identified Wednesday, but the cause of his death has not yet been determined.