Friday, April 3, 2020

Your Southern AZ COVID-19 PM Update for Friday, April 4: Nearly 1,800 Confirmed Cases in AZ; Ducey Orders Barbershops, Playgrounds, Pools & More Closed by Tomorrow; County Closes Most Public Shooting Ranges; & More

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 5:00 PM


Here's a roundup of stories we've been following today:

• Pima County has 280 of the state's confirmed 1,769 COVID-19 cases as of this morning's report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. A total of 41 people had died statewide, including 11 in Pima County. Details here.

• Gov. Doug Ducey expanded his stay-at-home order by telling a new set of businesses they had to close by 5 p.m. tomorrow: barbershops; cosmetology, hairstyling, nail salons, and aesthetic salons; tanning salons; tattoo parlors; spa, massage parlors, and swap meets. In the parks, Ducey called for the closing of basketball courts, splash pads, playgrounds, and public restrooms. He also said communal pools at hotels, condominiums, apartment complexes, and parks should be closed by 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."

• Pima County 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.

• The Weekly has an expanded online list of restaurants doing takeout and delivery. Consider supporting your local eateries by picking up little dinner this weekend.

• If you've lost your job lately and need some financial help with young children in the home, the Pima County Health Department may be able to help.

• The labor union for Arizona's prison guards is demanding that all correctional officers be allowed to wear personal protective equipment.

• The UA Cooperative Extension has teamed up with a 4-H program to create face shields and other personal protective equipment, which remains in short supply across the nation.

• Pima County suggests you put together an emergency plan for pet care during the outbreak.

• The Tucson tourism sector is taking a big hit.

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Ducey Orders Barbers, Tattoo Parlors, Basketball Courts, Pools & More Closed By Tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 2:30 PM

  • Courtesy photo
Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered barber shops, beauty parlors, nail salons, tattoo parlors and several other businesses to close by 5 p.m. Saturday, April. 4.

He also said parks should close basketball courts, playgrounds and other recreational amenities, but said that parks should remain open as much as possible.

While Ducey issued a stay-at-home on Monday, some local officials, including Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, have been calling on him to narrow his order to include the above businesses and others because they pose a risk of spreading COVID-19, the highly infectious novel coronavirus which is sweeping across Arizona and the rest of the United States.

“During these unprecedented times, providing clarity for small businesses and employers is an important measure to ensure we protect our citizens, slow the spread of COVID-19, and protect this critical part of our economy,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “As guidance from public health officials evolves, we will continue to release information and direction.”

Among the businesses that must close: barber shops; cosmetology, hairstyling, nail salons and aesthetic salons; tanning salons; tattoo parlors; spa, massage parlors and swap meets.

In the parks, Ducey called for the closing of basketball courts, splash pads, playgrounds and public restrooms.

He also said communal pools at hotels, condominiums, apartment complexes and parks should be closed by maintained by management.

The coronavirus had killed 41 people statewide, including 11 in Pima County, as of Friday, April 3, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 1,049. Pima County had 280 of the 1,769 cases of COVID-19 that had been confirmed in Arizona.

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County Shooting & Archery Ranges Closed Due To COVID-19

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 1:35 PM

Pima County shooting ranges will close Monday, April 6th until further notice, according to Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation officials.
  • Pima County shooting ranges will close Monday, April 6th until further notice, according to Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation officials.
Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Department is closing the majority of county-ran shooting ranges due to staffing shortages starting Monday, April 6.  Ranges are expected to be closed until further notice.

Qualified range masters are highly trained in gun safety and essential to operating a safe shooting range, according to Cliff Gyves, director of Pima County's Shooting Sports Program. Due to safety issues, NRPR staff are unable to cover range master duties when they are absent, Gyves said.

Shooting ranges affected are:

-Southeast Regional Park Shooting Range
-Southeast Archery Range
-Southeast Clay Target Center
-Tucson Mountain Park Rifle and Pistol Range

The Tucson Mountain Park Archery Range, along with the Virgil Ellis Rifle and Pistol Range in Ajo are still operational since both are unstaffed.

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UA Cooperative Extension and 4-H producing needed healthcare supplies

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 1:00 PM

  • Chris Paxman, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
A partnership between the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, 4-H and the Blue Ridge Unified School District in Navajo County are now making personal protective equipment and prototypes of new parts for ventilators, the university announced this week.

The 4-H and Blue Ridge district operate a fabrication laboratory, or Fab Lab, located in Pinetop. The facility is an “open door open-source educational resource” that includes several classrooms designed for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) work. The Fab Lab is home to a collection of digital fabrication equipment and electronics platforms.

Kevin Woolridge, a science and math teacher at Blue Ridge High School who opened the lab in 2018, began working with Navajo County Extension Director Steve Gouker and two students this week to begin producing face shields.

The group hopes to create 300 face shields by the weekend and will donate what they make to the Whiteriver Indian Hospital on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

"I'm ecstatic to help," Woolridge said, in a statement. "We are all forced to be at home, social distancing right now. It's helping to focus our energies, and to do something like this – actually making a difference to help keep our health professionals and first responders safe – we're very excited to do this."

In addition to the face shields, Woolridge and his team are also producing an H-tube, a ventilator part that would allow one ventilator to be used on four patients in an emergency situation.

"There is not an acute need for an H-connector right now, but we started the conversation because everybody in the U.S. will be hit by a shortage assuming the current state of affairs and the supply chain disruptions continue. There just aren't enough ventilators," said Bijun Kannadath, a research assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the College of Medicine-Phoenix. "We are doing in vitro testing to investigate the potential usage and see if it's a feasible alternative, but hopefully we don't need it. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."

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AZ Correctional Peace Officers Association Demands PPE in Prisons

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 12:00 PM

  • Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association
Yesterday the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association—a labor union representing correctional officers in prisons throughout the state—demanded that all officers wear personal protective equipment such as face masks during work, due to the high risk of COVID-19 infection.

This move is in response to Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn's direct order that employees not wear PPE in prisons. The AZCPOA wrote in a press release that Shinn, Governor Doug Ducey, and Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Crist have all "utterly failed" to protect correctional officers, incarcerated people and the general public from COVID-19.

"Contrary to Director Shinn, COVID19 is in the Arizona prisons," the release states. "Officers have tested positive for COVID19 in Winslow and Tucson prisons. ADC concealed officers' positive test results from coworkers. ADC only admitted to COVID19 results after AZCPOA revealed the positive results to the media."

The association says ADC's "complete disregard for public health" has caused over 100 correctional officers to be sent home from work due to flu-like symptoms, who were then allowed back to work within three days without any testing.

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Pet Owners Urged to Have a Plan for Their Pets

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 11:00 AM

  • Tara Foulkrod
For many of us, our pets are like our family. And just like family, we like to do all we can to keep them healthy and safe. In this time of uncertainty, we shouldn't forget our pets when it comes to what to do in an emergency, should we have one.

That's exactly the message being put out by area shelters - Pima Animal Care Center, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and The Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter.

They suggest having a plan for an emergency (which isn't a bad idea to have whether there's a pandemic or not) so that your beloved pet doesn't end up in a shelter, scared and alone.

The following are the three biggest tips on how to have an Emergency Plan for your pets:

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County W.I.C. Program Helping Families During Pandemic

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Pima County Health Department's Woman, Infant, and Children Program (WIC) is offering help to families struggling with grocery costs during the coronavirus pandemic.

WIC is a nutrition and breastfeeding program that providing food vouchers for selected items and breastfeeding support for low-income households and/or families temporarily out of work in The Old Pueblo.

“We’re here to help people meet the nutritional needs for their family,” said Jennifer Chancay, manager of the Pima County WIC Program. “This is a difficult and scary time for many people. If you’re in need, or suddenly have a change in your family’s financial situation, please call us. We often have same-day appointments, and can get you quickly on the path for some relief.”

Recently laid-off families with infants and children up to 5 years of age, as well as to women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or whose pregnancy ended fewer than 6 months ago are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible for WIC factors include:

-Receiving AHCCCS/SNAP benefits

-Earning less than 185 percent of poverty guidelines (i.e., a family of four earning up to $3,970/month)

-Fostering children

For more information about WIC, please call 520-724-7777 or 800-252- 5942 if outside of Pima County, or visit

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Tucson Tourism; What to Do with Your Wanderlust

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 10:26 AM

  • BigStock
Most of us are sheltered in place and social distancing the way we should be. That's great - keep it up. It doesn't help the wanderlust, though, does it?

Especially with how beautiful it's been outside lately, the urge to go and experience it is strong. This is the perfect season to travel and experience the new, which is why Spring Break comes at a perfect time of year - usually.

Unfortunately, with the exception of the occasional outdoor walk in our yards or to an essential place, we're pretty much hunkered down in our homes, binging Tiger King and TikTok. Not going out and traveling only causes us to be bummed for a little while; for businesses and small communities, it can be devastating. The economic impact of tourism on communities and states can be huge.

Total direct travel spending in Arizona during 2016 was $21.2 billion according to a report done by the Arizona Office of Tourism. "Of that $21.2 billion, travel spending in the Tucson and Southern Arizona area accounted for $3.3 billion."

In this chart from the UArizona Eller College of Management, you can see where the recession in 2008 really had an effect on employment in the Accommodation sector, closely tied with tourism in the state. And now, just as tourism was beginning to bounce back, COVID-19 busts in like the Kool-Aid man to tell us to stay home.


We had a chat with Dan Janes, CEO of Madden Media - a Destination Marketing company located here in Tucson - to find out why the tourism market is suffering so badly, what it means for our town, and what it means for you.

Continue reading »

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Staff Pick

Canceled: Sahba Home and Patio Show

Featuring more than 300 exhibitors come and see what is new in home improvement trends, remodeling and… More

@ Tucson Convention Center March 6-April 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 260 S. Church Ave.

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