Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Southern AZ COVID-19 AM Roundup for Tuesday, Aug. 18: Total Cases Closing in on 195K; Trump Coming to Yuma Today; Pop-Up COVID Testing Today at Sunnyside High

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 9:28 AM

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The number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases closed in on 195,000 as of Tuesday, Aug 18, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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Pima County had seen 19,976 of the state’s 194,920 confirmed cases.

A total of 4,529 Arizonans had died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Aug. 18 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases continues to decline. ADHS reported that as of Aug. 17, 1,167 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 960 people visited ERs on Aug. 17 with COVID symptoms. That number peaked at 2,008 on July 7.

A total of 427 COVID-19 patients were in ICU beds on Aug. 10. The number in ICUs peaked at 970 on July 13.

Trump traveling to AZ today

President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Yuma today to highlight progress on the border wall.

“President Trump’s return to the Grand Canyon State is yet another reminder that voters have an easy choice this November," said Trump Victory Spokesperson Emma Hall. "As Joe Biden hides behind Zoom to push his extreme immigration policies that prioritize illegal immigrants over Americans, President Trump has fought to secure the U.S. border, dismantle sanctuary cities, and protect communities across Arizona.”

Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felecia Rotellini pointed to Yuma’s high incidence of COVID-19, as the border town has 5,169 confirmed cases of coronavirus for every 100,000 people, which is the highest concentration of any metro area in the country.

“No matter how hard he tries, Trump can’t distract from how badly his broken promises have failed Arizonans and left working families across the state demanding new leadership,” Rotellini said. “Arizonans need leaders with a plan to contain the virus and rebuild our economy—not another photo op or bus tour.”

City of Tucson offering rental assistance, grants for those affected by pandemic

The City of Tucson has allocated $4.5 million of federal CARES Act funding for an emergency rent and utility assistance program available to city residents.

To be eligible for the financial assistance, participating renters must have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the household income cannot exceed $68,400.

One application will be accepted per household, and each household can receive up to $2,500 to cover up to three months of late or upcoming rent or utility payments that were incurred after March 1, 2020.

All applicants will need to provide copies of their identification, bills, proof of income and other household information. The city’s Housing and Community Development department is partnering with several nonprofit organizations to administer these funds, including Primavera, Interfaith Community Services, Catholic Community Services and the International Rescue Committee.

Representatives from one of these agencies will contact applicants within five days for a phone interview and may ask for additional information. The funds will be sent directly to each applicants’ landlord and/or utility company.

“Keeping Tucsonans safe and healthy in their homes is the most important thing as many of our residents have been greatly impacted financially by this pandemic,” said Housing and Community Development Director Liz Morales in a press release.

The application process opened yesterday and renters are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Visit www.tucsonaz.gov/hcd/rent-help to complete an application. If you need assistance or are unable to complete the application online, call (520) 837-5364 or email covidemergencyassistance@tucsonaz.gov.

The city is also setting aside $3 million of CARES Act 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.

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.

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, Arizona 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.

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 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at southside Tucson’s Sunnyside High, 1725 E. Bilby Road.

Tomorrow’s event will be in South Tucson from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Ave.

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 also opened 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 Flowing Wells Community 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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