PHOENIX — A record number of COVID-19 patients are in the ICU in Arizona.

A new high of 988 patients with the disease are occupying intensive care unit beds Sunday, accounting for 56% of the beds statewide, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Arizona is having its worst surge since July, when 970 people with the virus were in the ICU — accounting for 57% of available beds.

The number of available ICU beds is about 10%.

Daily cases have been much higher in December, while deaths have been much lower than the triple-digit daily death tolls reported in July.

The health department recorded three deaths Sunday, bringing the toll to 8,427. An additional 1,296 confirmed cases were also reported, bringing the state's total since the pandemic began to 494,337.

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

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