Monday, July 6, 2020

Your Southern AZ COVID-19 AM Update for Monday, July 6: Confirmed Cases Top 101K; Schools Are Moving Toward Distance Learning; Hospitals Remain Under Strain

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 9:55 AM

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona climbed past 101,000 as of Monday, July 6, after the state reported 3,352 new cases this morning, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had 9,873 of the state's 101,441 confirmed cases.

A total of 1,810 people have died after contracting the virus.

Maricopa County has more than half the state's cases, with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases hitting 64,915.

Hospitals remain under pressure. The report shows that a record 3,212 COVID patients were hospitalized yesterday in the state, more than triple the 1,009 hospitalized on June 1.

A total of 1,306 people visited ERs yesterday.

A total of 1,405 COVID-19 patients were in ICU beds yesterday.

With the spread of COVID increasingly out of control in Arizona, some local school districts have announced that they will only offer "distance learning" or online instruction when school starts next month. Unlike in spring, when schools moved online following spring break, districts are planning stricter instructional time designed to mirror traditional in-person classes.

Tucson Unified School District announced last week that it would launch online classes for all students starting Aug. 10, with in-person classroom instruction delayed until "when it is deemed safe," according to a letter to parents from TUSD Superintendent Gabrielle Trujillo.

Although Gov. Doug Ducey announced earlier this week that the start of the school year would be moved from Aug. 3 to Aug. 17, Trujillo said that date "may be aspirational."

"Due to this uncertainty, and the importance of creating a stable educational environment for our families and staff, Tucson Unified has determined we will begin all students via Remote Learning on Monday, August 10, 2020 and then transition those interested in an on-campus learning experience when it is deemed safe," Trujillo wrote. "Although starting this school year remotely is not ideal, we are committed to offering every child quality and rigorous curriculum, 5 days a week, from our highly qualified teachers. Instruction will be conducted utilizing teacher zoom lessons, as well as, some recorded lessons and offline homework. Classes will be consistent with real-time classroom instruction and will utilize approved online programs with assessment tools."

Likewise, Sunnyside School District Superintendent Steve Holmes told parents that the district would start online classes on Aug. 5.

"While starting school completely online is not ideal, I am confident that we are prepared for a remote learning environment given our track record of using technology as an essential instructional tool for the past 10 years," Holmes said. "We are committed to offering your child a quality uninterrupted learning experience. Our teachers and curriculum staff have been working all summer to ensure that we can remotely deliver the same rigorous curriculum that would have been offered in person."

Ducey last week ordered the closing of some bars and all gyms, movie theaters, water parks, and river tubing activities for at least one month. Previously, Ducey had said new closures were not under discussion by his administration despite the rising number of cases.

Ducey warned that Arizonans will see more cases of COVID-19 before the numbers begin to decrease.

“Our expectation is, our numbers will be worse,” said Ducey, who repeated his call for Arizonans to mask up when in public, stay home as much as possible, wash their hands and keep a physical distance from others.

The Department of Health has activated its “crisis standards of care” and asked hospitals to cancel non-emergency surgeries as more COVID patients fill hospitals, ICU beds, and emergency rooms. In a visit to Arizona this week, Vice President Mike Pence said the federal government would be sending up to 500 healthcare workers to Arizona to support Arizona's overstretched nurses and doctors.

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