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Monday, March 30, 2020

Your Southern AZ Coronavirus PM Update for Monday, March 30: Ducey Orders Statewide Stay-at-Home Order, Closes Schools; Tucson Nursing Home Reports 27 COVID-19 Cases; AZ Confirmed Cases Top 1K

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 5:21 PM

NIAID-RML
  • NIAID-RML
Today in Southern Arizona COVID-19 news:

• Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered a statewide stay-at-home order beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, although people may still shop for groceries, and other supplies; go to work at a business the governor has deemed essential; visit family and friends who need help; and visit the great outdoors. Just stay at home as much as possible, folks. This is no joke. Ducey also joined Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman to announce that Arizona schools would remain closed through the remainder of the academic year.

• A local nursing home has reported 27 COVID-19 cases.

• Local courts have announced a new protective order process in response to COVID-19.

• Local First Arizona has launched a small business relief fund.

• In non-COVID-19 news: Adelita Grijalva, a TUSD Board member and daughter of Congressman Raul Grijalva, announced she would launch a bid for the District 5 seat on the Pima Board of Supervisors left vacant by the death of Supervisor Richard Elias.

Gov. Ducey Issues 'Stay At Home' Order

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 2:34 PM

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
Gov. Doug Ducey has issued a statewide stay-at-home order as confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arizona have climbed past 1,100.

Under the order, Arizonans are still able to shop for groceries, medical and household needs, and pet supplies. You 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 you adhere to social distancing guidelines. Essential businesses, as recently designated by Ducey, may remain open.

“Arizona citizens and businesses are already responsibly responding to this crisis," Ducey said. "This order builds on the state’s efforts to protect public health by reminding Arizonans to maintain healthy habits and find alternative ways to stay connected with friends and loved ones while spending time at home. 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. 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."

Local officials such as Mayor Regina Romero have been calling for Ducey to take further steps to restrict people's activities as the outbreak spreads.

Ducey's order comes as the number of deaths from the virus hit 20 and statewide confirmed cases surpassed four figures. A total of 1,157 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Arizona, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. There are now 187 confirmed cases in Pima County.

In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 690.

Earlier today, Gov. Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced this morning that school closures would continue through the end of the school year. Schools are transitioning to online learning and districts across the region are delivering lunch and breakfast meals to kids via school buses or setting up central locations.


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Tucson Nursing Home Reports 27 COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 2:31 PM

sapphire_of_tucson.jpg
A nursing and rehabilitation facility located in Tucson reported 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases among its residents and patients.

Sapphire of Tucson announced the results Monday morning. According to the company, 24 patients and three employees tested positive. Sapphire is located at 2900 E. Milber St., near Banner-University Medical Center South.

"As soon as the first patient showed symptoms, we were immediately in touch with the Pima County Department of Health," the company said in a statement.

Sapphire said it will continue to work closely with the Arizona Department of Health Services, Pima County officials and additional health experts to ensure "we are taking every possible step to provide the appropriate care to all our residents."

"The source of the infection is unclear and remains under investigation," the company said.
Sapphire added that "infection control, patient safety, and patient care" are their top priority.

"Members of our staff are also complying with guidelines for infection prevention and control," the company said. "We have instructed any staff member who believes they may have been exposed to the virus, or are developing symptoms of respiratory infection, to leave work and self-isolate at home.

According to the state, there are currently 1,157 confirmed cases, and 187 in Pima County. COVID-19 is also responsible for 20 deaths in Arizona.

The Pima County Health Department has announced six deaths. The most recent was announced Sunday, March 29: A male between the age of 41 and 65 with underlying health conditions that put him at risk for the disease.

The county reported another death on Saturday, March 28, but would only release that it was a "male hospice patient between the age of 18 and 40."

According to the state, the majority of cases occur in individuals between the ages of 20 and 44. Arizona's risk of spreading COVID-19 is considered "Widespread."

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Adelita Grijalva Announces Bid For Elias' Seat

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 2:17 PM

ADELITA GRIJALVA CAMPAIGN
  • Adelita Grijalva campaign
Tucson Unified School District Board Member Adelita Grijalva announced her intention to run for the Pima County District 5 seat in a Facebook post this afternoon. The announcement comes days District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias died on Saturday and just a week before the filing deadline to seek the office.

From the FB post:

The loss of Richard Eliás comes as our lives already feel turned upside down. With his sudden death, we have lost a true champion for Pima County. While we have no public opportunity to grieve or support one another, we are quickly approaching an April 6th election deadline that will not budge.

With the support of Emily and Luz Eliás, and with great pride and sorrow, I announce my candidacy for Pima County Supervisor District 5. I never expected to be in this position, to stand up under these circumstances to protect all that Richard stood for and cared about.

With your help, we must continue to fight for our shared progressive values and continue Richard's lasting legacy for our children and for our future. We must come together to protect our hard working families, our Sonoran Desert and our beloved Tucson. We cannot afford to lose our voice on the Pima County Board. I humbly ask for your support and help today, as we take this important step forward together.

Resist. Much love.

Thanks,
Adelita

Grijalva will be in a race against time trying to collect 199 signatures from registered democrats in District 5 before the Monday, April 6 deadline. 

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Courts Announce New Protective Order Process In Response to COVID-19 Emergency

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 12:00 PM

PIMA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
  • Pima County Superior Court
The Pima County Superior Court, Justice Court, and Tucson City Court have moved their procedures for filing protection orders to an online format, due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

Victims of abuse, stalking, or harassment can now complete most requests for protection orders by phone and the internet.

Applicants must start their protection order request online using the Arizona Protective Order Initiation & Notification Tool (AZPOINT). They will be asked to complete an application, and receive a unique reference number. Applicants should use that number to call the Clerk of the Court for any of the three main downtown courts (Superior Court 520-724-3221, Justice Court 520-724-3942, or Tucson City Court 520-791-4971) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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Local First Arizona Launches Small Business Relief Fund

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 11:07 AM

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Small businesses throughout Arizona looking for some financial assistance during the COVID-19 Pandemic can now look to Local First Arizona for help after the nonprofit launched its Small Business Relief Fund on Monday.

Businesses who employ up to three employees and generate less than $250,000 in annual revenue can apply for immediate assistance. Businesses must also be independently owned and operated (no franchises), and priority will be placed on business owners with children under 18 at home, as well as families that rely on their business as their sole income.

“It’s a devastating and uncertain time to be a small business owner in Arizona,” said Local First Arizona Founder Kimber Lanning. “Everything you love is on the line, but the community you’re ingrained in is still at top of mind. We are echoing the voices of small businesses across the state: debt is not a solution for our smallest businesses. We ask others to join us, the health of our local economy and state depend on it.”

Funds can be used to cover business expenses, employee salaries, and other operations. Applications for aid will be reviewed every week by regional review panels covering northern, central and southern Arizona. Within 7 days of review, applicants will be informed of their status.

If approved, a business will receive funding within five business days.

Initial sponsors of the fund include the Salt River Project and Jack Pfister Support Fund. Local First Arizona is also asking the public to contribute to the fund. Donations begin at $25.

"As a small business, we have very low cash buffers which leaves us facing a race against the financial battle for survival,” said Pop Cycle co-owners DeeDee Koenen, Shannon Riggs, and Jennifer Radler.

Apply for financial aid, or make a contribution, online by clicking here. (localfirstaz.com/small-business-relief-fund.)

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AZ School Closures Extended Through the End of the School Year

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 8:53 AM

No more school until (hopefully) next August. - TLM FILE PHOTO
  • TLM file photo
  • No more school until (hopefully) next August.
Gov. Doug Ducey and State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced this morning that Arizona schools would remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Ducey and Hoffman released the following statement:

In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay. Our number one priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.

Arizona's schools closed while most were on spring break earlier this month, with districts moving toward online learning. Last week, Ducey signed legislation ensuring that schools would be held harmless by the loss of instruction days and teachers and other school employees would be receive their full pay.

School districts have set up alternative delivery of meals for families in the community.

Health and government officials have urged the public to avoid unnecessary trips and gatherings of more than 10 people. They warn that the extremely contagious virus is rapidly spreading in the community. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear, so people can pass COVID-19 without realizing they have been infected with it. Some people remain entirely asymptotic but are carriers.

In the face of the spreading virus, Ducey has also halted to evictions for 120 days; ordered bars, gyms and theaters to be closed in any county with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Critics say Ducey should go further and issue a state-at-home order for the state.

Ducey has also 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.

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.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

BREAKING: Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias Dead at 61

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2020 at 3:45 PM

Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias: 1958-2020. - COURTESY OF PIMA COUNTY
  • Courtesy of Pima County
  • Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias: 1958-2020.
Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias died today at age 61.

Elias, a Democrat who has represented District 5 since being appointed to the board in 2002, has been serving as chair of the five-member board.

Justice of the Peace Ray Carroll, who served alongside Elias on the board before declining to seek reelection in 2016, said he respected Elias' commitment and expertise in areas such as healthcare, the environment and housing.

"We had a lot of successes, a lot of disagreements, but we never failed in trying to do our best for our community," Carroll said. "He had a deep understanding of his district and believed in healthy spirit, healthy mind, healthy body."

More details to come.

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Popular Content

  1. Gov. Ducey Issues 'Stay At Home' Order (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Adelita Grijalva Announces Bid For Elias' Seat (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Courts Announce New Protective Order Process In Response to COVID-19 Emergency (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Your Southern AZ Coronavirus AM Update for Monday, March 30: AZ Confirmed Cases Top 1K, 20 Now Dead (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Tucson Nursing Home Reports 27 COVID-19 Cases (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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