Saturday, April 4, 2020

Your Southern AZ Coronavirus AM Roundup for Saturday, April 4: AZ Confirmed Cases Top 2K, More Businesses Closing Today

Posted By on Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 9:15 AM

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona has topped 2,000, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had 326 of the state’s confirmed 2,019 cases.

The coronavirus had killed 52 people statewide, including 11 in Pima County.

In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 1,171.

Gov. Doug Ducey yesterday narrowed the list of “essential businesses” that are allowed to remain open under his stay-at-home order, saying that barbershops; cosmetology, hairstyling, nail salons, and aesthetic salons; tanning salons; tattoo parlors; spa, massage parlors, and swap meets all must close by 5 p.m. today.

Ducey also called for the closing of basketball courts, splash pads, playgrounds, and public restrooms in public parks and said that communal pools at hotels, condominiums, apartment complexes, and parks should be closed but maintained by management. The expanded list of shuttered businesses and amenities comes after Ducey faced criticism by Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and others that he had allowed too many businesses to remain open under a list of "essential services."

Under the stay-at-home order, Arizonans are still able to shop for groceries, medical and household needs, and pet supplies. They can also go work, pick up a take-out meal from a restaurant, travel to take care of a family member, friend or pet, and can still go walking, hiking, biking and golfing, provided that they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will ensure we build capacity in our healthcare system, and help protect the lives of those we love most,” Ducey said Monday. “It’s important to emphasize that there are no plans to shut down grocery stores. People should continue to buy what you need for a week’s worth of groceries."

Pima County yesterday closed most of its county-run shooting ranges—Southeast Regional Park Shooting Range, Southeast Archery Range, Southeast Clay Target Center, and Tucson Mountain Park Rifle and Pistol Range—because it could no longer provide qualified staffers to keep on eye on things. The county has left open the Tucson Mountain Park Archery Range, along with the Virgil Ellis Rifle and Pistol Range in Ajo, because both are unstaffed.
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Because COVID-19 symptoms can take as long as two weeks to appear after exposure to the virus (and some people can remain entirely asymptomatic), health officials say community spread of the disease is far worse than the official numbers suggest. They have urged the public to avoid unnecessary trips and gatherings of more than 10 people and, yesterday, President Donald Trump said people should start covering their faces with masks when they go out in public, although there is a desperate shortage of masks for healthcare workers across  the country.

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus this week warned against people hosting house parties while the stay-at-home order is in effect, noting that house parties are not listed as an essential activity in Ducey’s order. Magnus said while police would typically give a warning to those who violate emergency orders, scofflaws could find themselves charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.

“The worst consequence would be if you pass this virus on to someone who has a serious illness or dies as a result,” Magnus said. “That could be a family member, a friend, or someone you’ve never met. Although it’s especially dangerous for older people and people with certain underlying conditions, this coronavirus can have serious consequences for anyone, regardless of age or health. No matter who you are, you are not immune.”

With schools now closed through the end of the academic year, teachers have transitioned to online learning and districts across the region are delivering lunch and breakfast meals to kids via school buses or setting up central locations.

In the face of the spreading virus, Ducey has also halted to evictions for 120 days; halted all elective surgery to keep hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients; loosened regulations to make telemedicine more available and increase eligibility for AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program; and activated the National Guard to assist in grocery stores as Arizonans clear the shelves.

While most parks and outdoor recreation areas remain open, many local jurisdictions have closed playgrounds and ramadas to prevent kids and adults from mingling. Parking lots for some federal recreation areas—such as Sabino Canyon—have been closed.

Courts have rescheduled most hearings to avoid spreading the virus.

COVID-19 symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure, and include headache, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. However, some cases of the virus are entirely asymptomatic. Practices to avoid infection include social distancing (of at least six feet), washing your hands, avoiding unnecessary trips and not touching your face. COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on stainless steel and plastic surfaces up to three days.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, speak with a healthcare provider for medical advice. According to the CDC, people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Stay at home and avoid public transportation, but stay in touch with your doctor. If you do leave your home, wear a facemask and clean your hands often. If you develop more severe symptoms (persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, bluish lips) get medical attention immediately. Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

Have you caught COVID-19? Are you feeling ill? Is your small business struggling to make it? Have you lost your job as a result of the outbreak? Are you struggling to manage your kids while schools are closed? Tell us your COVID-19 stories. Send an email or photo to tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com.

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