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Tue, July 27

Briefs: Arizona reports over 1,000 virus cases for 4th straight day

Arizona public health officals are reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state. State Health Director Dr. Cara Christ is pictured. (File photo by Howard Fischer/For the Miner)

Arizona public health officals are reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state. State Health Director Dr. Cara Christ is pictured. (File photo by Howard Fischer/For the Miner)

PHOENIX - Arizona on Saturday reported over 1,000 additional COVID-19 cases for the fourth straight day as virus-related hospitalizations continued to increase. The state Department of Health Services' coronavirus dashboard reported 1,152 additional cases and 14 deaths, increasing Arizona's pandemic totals to 907,268 cases and 18,114 deaths.

As across the nation, Arizona in recent weeks has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. Public health experts attribute the increases to low vaccination rates, the fast-spreading delta variant and July Fourth gatherings.

The number of virus-elated hospitalizations in Arizona generally ranged between 500 and 600 during May and June but rose in the past week, with 745 COVID-19-related hospitalizations as of Friday, according to the dashboard.

Virus patients occupied 9% of in-patient beds on Friday, up from 6% a week ago.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rose over the past two weeks from 520 on July 1 to 898 on Thursday, while the average of daily deaths rose from 9.8 to 13 during the same period. Arizona's pandemic daily peak topped 12,000 cases on Jan. 4.

CDC: Unaccompanied migrant children exempt

DALLAS - Unaccompanied migrant children will be exempt from a ban on migrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border, federal health officials ordered Friday. The CDC confirmed a temporary exception it ordered in February from a total asylum ban issued in October.

The Trump administration cited concerns over COVID-19 for the October ban. With vaccination rates climbing, the change suggests the Biden administration is considering a gradual lifting of the asylum ban.

A Justice Department attorney signaled the change during a court hearing Tuesday in Fort Worth dealing with a lawsuit filed by Texas to compel enforcement of the Trump ban.

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointee, questioned the timing of the new order and told the government to inform him as soon as it is issued. He didn’t rule on the injunction request, but said he would put out a decision “quickly .”

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