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Arizona reports 1,179 additional COVID-19 cases, 70 deaths

Another 70 Arizona residents have died from complications of COVID-19, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported Saturday, Feb. 27. State Health Director Dr. Cara Christ is shown. (File photo by Howard Fischer/For the Miner)

Another 70 Arizona residents have died from complications of COVID-19, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported Saturday, Feb. 27. State Health Director Dr. Cara Christ is shown. (File photo by Howard Fischer/For the Miner)

Arizona reports 1,179 additional COVID-19 cases, 70 deaths

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona on Saturday reported 1,179 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 70 deaths as the state's death toll from the recently slowing coronavirus outbreak approached 16,000.

The latest figures reported by the state Department of Health Services increased Arizona's pandemic totals to 815,707 confirmed cases and 15,967.

According to the state's coronavirus dashboard, 1,317 COVID-19 patients occupied inpatient beds as of Friday, down from the pandemic high of 5,082 on Jan. 11.

Seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases and daily deaths both declined over the past two weeks, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The rolling average of daily new cases dropped from 2,558.6 on Feb. 12 to 1,487.4 on Friday while the rolling average of daily deaths dropped from 126.6 to 79.9 during the same period.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Phoenix police arrest 2 women after argument diverts flight

PHOENIX (AP) – An American Airlines flight was diverted and two women arrested in Phoenix after authorities say one of the women spit on a fellow passenger who asked them to stop using racial slurs in their conversation and the other slapped his hand when he started recording them.

American Airlines said the flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Los Angeles when it was diverted to Sky Harbor International Airport on Thursday around 5:15 p.m. because of an on-flight altercation.

When the flight landed, officers with the Phoenix Police Department arrested Kelly Pichardo, 30, and Leeza Rodriguez, 29, both from the Bronx, New York, saying they verbally and physically assaulted other passengers and crew members.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said the women were using racial slurs when a male passenger asked them to stop using the language. Pichardo allegedly spit at the man, who then began recording them. Fortune said Rodriguez then hit the man’s hand to stop him from recording.

Rodriguez faces charges of assault and disorderly conduct and Pichardo faces a charge of disorderly conduct.

Online court records did not indicate whether the women have attorneys who could comment on the allegations on their behalf.

American Airlines spokesperson Derek Walls called the women’s behavior “disturbing and unacceptable” and said in a statement that they were placed on their “internal refuse list pending further investigation.”

The flight continued to Los Angeles and arrived without further incident.

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