/ Modified sep 1, 2020 10:33 a.m.

News roundup: Race for Pima County Sheriff, indirect death toll of COVID-19, crowdfunding for student computers

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Aug. 31.

Cases 201,835 | Deaths 5,029 | Diagnostic tests 1,470,255

On Monday, Aug. 31, the state reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 and -1 additional death, which it said was a correction of multiple records. New cases continue a downward trend in the state, allowing for the reopening of certain businesses over the weekend.

Napier threatens legal action against Nanos


Pima County Sherriff Mark Napier held a news conference Monday to call his opponent, former Sheriff Chris Nano, a liar.

Napier said social media posts and billboards claiming his is under investigation by the FBI and was charged with felony perjury are all false.

“He has stated that I have been found guilty that I am appealing that crime, that I am under investigation by the FBI, and he indicates that that’s again as if there have been multiple investigations. That I have cloned Sheriff’s department personnel’s cell phones in an effort to spy on them. That I have falsified department records and that I have criminally possessed privileged documents. All of these statements are completely and verifiably false,” said Napier.

AZPM reached out to the Nanos campaign for a comment but did not get a response.

Read more.

Navajo Nation COVID fatalities


Navajo Nation health officials say the confirmation of a new death brings the number of fatalities from coronavirus to 500.

The Navajo Nation on Friday night reported the additional death as well as 14 more confirmed cases of COVID-19. That brings the total number of people infected to just over 9,700. But that includes 165 cases that occurred between early April and mid-August and were recently identified as COVID-19 related.

Navajo officials said 94,099 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,032 have recovered. The Navajo Nation lifted its stay-at-home order on Aug. 16, but is asking residents to go out for emergencies or essentials.

Coronavirus risk lessens in Sonora, Mexican officials say

KJZZ Fronteras Desk

Mexican officials say Sonora is one of 10 states where risk has dropped from high to medium for spread of the coronavirus. But local health experts urge residents not to let their guard down.

Sonora is now considered yellow according to Mexico’s four-color semáforo, or traffic light, coronavirus rating system. That will allow more businesses and public spaces to reopen at reduced capacity.

Federal health officials say the risk level was downgraded based on 10 indicators related to the spread of the virus, hospital saturation and mortality rates.

But Sonoran Health Secretary Enrique Clausen said that shouldn’t give residents a false sense of security.

"As long as there's a traffic light, there's a risk. There will only be zero risk when the pandemic is over," he said in a press conference Saturday.

He said the while Sonora dropped from maximum to high risk in August, and now has been reduced again to medium risk, the situation is still dire. And he encouraged Sonorans to continue taking precautions seriously to protect themselves and their families.

Federal authorities also emphasized following local health recommendations as some areas may be at higher risk than the state overall.

Indirect death toll from COVID-19 shows up in death data

Arizona Daily Star

COVID-19 is cited as the leading cause of a 20% rise in total deaths in Pima County.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, nearly 7,000 county residents died of all causes during the first seven months of this year. Statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services shows that's 900 more deaths than the same period last year. Data shows there were 2100 deaths in June and July in Pima County.

The health department says as of Saturday, the coronavirus had caused 576 deaths in Pima County.

Read more at Tucson.com.

GoFundMe campaign raises more than $20,000 for students at San Xavier Mission School


What started out as a teacher asking for help on Facebook is now a GoFundMe campaign that's raised more than double the original $10,000 goal to buy Chromebooks for San Xavier Mission School students.

Jill Dotts started the campaign Aug. 15 after seeing a Facebook post from her friend Jackie Kroskob, the English Language Arts and eighth grade homeroom teacher at San Xavier Mission School. Kroskob said her childhood friend called her up and said she'd like to start a GoFundMe page for the students at the mission's school in the Tohono O'odham Nation. The account reached its goal Friday evening with $11,665. Kroskob said they are "truly blessed," and that her friend, Dotts, planned to close the fundraiser soon. As of Monday morning, they'd raised $21,518 dollars from 462 donors.

Kroskob said she estimates 50 to 75% of the students at the school didn't have a computer or access to wi-fi when they started virtual learning last spring. She said in her homeroom, four out of her 10 eighth grade students need one of the new Chromebooks.

Learn more here.

Tucson prison inmates say close conditions, slow test results spread COVID-19

Arizona Daily Star

There have been 883 COVID-19 cases in the Tucson prison and five coronavirus deaths, the highest in any prison in the state. As the Arizona Daily Star reports, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry reported the outbreak Aug. 4 and said the test results came in over several days.

Inmates say testing has lagged and in living in close quarters has led to more spread of the disease.

The Arizona Department of Corrections has not said whether it plans to retest any inmates unless they’re showing symptoms.

Read more at Tucson.com

Arrests during racial justice protest in Phoenix


Twelve people were arrested during a weekend racial justice protest in Phoenix.

The demonstration was organized to show solidarity for the anniversary of the March on Washington. Sgt. Ann Justus said the Friday night protest that drew dozens of people was peaceful overall. Demonstrators listened to speeches in downtown before marching to Phoenix Police Department headquarters. Justus said it was at the end of the march that some protesters laid down in the road, forcing officers to shut it down to traffic. Those who refused to get up were subsequently arrested.

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