Monday, August 17, 2020

Your Southern AZ COVID-19 AM Roundup for Monday, Aug. 17: Total cases top 194K; More Unemployment Dollars Coming to Some Out-of-Work Arizonans; Tucson Offering Grants to Residents Affected by Outbreak; Pop-Up COVID Testing Today at Rillito Racetrack

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 9:35 AM

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The number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 194,000 as of Monday, Aug 17, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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Pima County had seen 19,743 of the state’s 194,005 confirmed cases.

A total of 4,506 Arizonans had died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Aug. 17 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases continues to decline. ADHS reported that as of Aug. 16, 1,182 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, the lowest that number has been since June 6, when 1,079 people were hospitalized. That number peaked at 3,517 on July 13.

A total of 990 people visited ERs on Aug. 13 with COVID symptoms, the fourth time that number has dipped below 1,000 since June 19. That number peaked at 2,008 on July 7.

A total of 430 COVID-19 patients were in ICU beds on Aug. 10. The number in ICUs peaked at 970 on July 13.

AZ Extending Unemployment Benefits for Some Arizonans

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Friday that Arizona would accept the extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits being offered by the Trump administration.

Trump signed an executive order funding the extra $300 in unemployment dollars after the federal government’s payment of an $600 a week expired at the end of July and negotiations with congressional leaders to extend the program collapsed.

While Trump had initially called for states to provide $100 a week in unemployment benefits in order to quality, Ducey  will not be required to do so.

Hundreds of thousands of gig workers and others involved in non-traditional jobs, who were eligible for the $600 a week under the expired federal program will not be eligible for this program.

City of Tucson Offering Grants to Residents Impacted by COVID Crisis

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Tucson received about $95 million from the federal CARES Act. Mayor Regina Romero and the city council members recently approved $3 million of that funding to be distributed to local workers and families that have been negatively impacted by the crisis.

The grant program, named the “We Are One | Somos Unos Resiliency Fund” will focus on individuals and households that have not received any state or federal COVID-19 relief money and whose income does not reach Pima County’s self-sufficiency standard.

The self-sufficiency standard measures how much money an individual or family needs to earn to be able to meet their basic needs with no public or private financial assistance. In 2018, the self-sufficiency standard for a single adult in Pima County was $9.66 per hour or $1,700 per month. For a household with two adults and two young children, the standard was $13.22 per hour for both adults, or $4,711 per month.

On July 24, the expanded federal unemployment benefits that were provided in response to COVID-19 expired, leaving many households across the country vulnerable to financial instability.

The City of Tucson is partnering with the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, who will administer the grants and begin accepting applications at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19 until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Get Tested: Pima County Has Several Testing Centers, Including Pop-Up Sites This Week

The Pima County Health Department has rolled out new pop-up COVID-19 testing sites that are available in areas of the county that have had limited testing availability.

Through their partnership with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, Pima County will offer a minimal contact testing operation for free at the following times and locations. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged and can be completed at www.pima.gov/covid19testing.

Today the pop-up testing will be in north-central Tucson from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at
Rillito Racetrack, 4502 N. First Ave.

Upcoming pop-up test sites include:

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 18
Sunnyside High School, 1725 E. Bilby Road

South Tucson
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19
Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. 6th Avenue

Participants can access their test results by logging into www.doineedacovid19test.com within a few days. The county expects to complete 20,000 tests through these events.

Pima County has teamed up with the City of Tucson to open a third testing center at the Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. Tests are available Tuesday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The new center, which requires a nasal swab, joins a similar facility at Kino Event Center, 2805 E. Ajo Way. A third center at the northside Ellie Towne Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road, involves a saliva test designed by ASU.

All three centers offer easy-to-schedule appointments—often with same-day availability—and you get results in less than 72 hours.

Schedule an appointment at pima.gov/covid19testing.

The centers are also tied into Pima County’s developing contact tracing operation, which aims to be able to identify potential clusters and warn people if they have been in contact with someone who is COVID-positive.

If you’re interested in a test to determine if you’ve already had COVID-19, the UA has expanded a free COVID-19 antibody testing program to include 15 new categories of essential workers considered at high risk for exposure. The antibody test, developed by researchers at UA Health Sciences, determines who has been exposed to and developed an immune response against COVID-19.

In addition to healthcare workers and first responders, the test program is now open to educators, childcare workers, agriculture, grocery and foodservice workers, hospitality employees, solid-waste collection workers, transportation services workers and members of the National Guard. More information and registration for the test is available at covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu.

—with additional reporting from Kathleen B. Kunz, Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner and Tara Foulkrod

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