Arizona COVID-19 one-week snapshot, Oct. 21
Cases: 202,861 | Deaths: 5,065 | PCR tests: 1,212,177
The state reported 519 more cases and 21 deaths on Sept. 2.
Heat, COVID-19 and isolation put mobile home parks at risk
Mobile home residents face unique challenges, from heating and cooling to maintenance and rental agreements. As members of the Arizona Association of Mobile Home Owners, those are the issues Pat Schoneck and Eileen Green are hoping to tackle.
Before the pandemic stalled travel, the duo would visit three to four parks in a day around the state. They give informational sessions about mobile home resident laws and protections, respond to complaints at parks, and recruit new members.
People all over Tucson are struggling to pay the bills this summer thanks to COVID-19 job losses. But Schoneck said that’s a problem mobile home residents face even in normal times. Insulation issues and single-paned windows in older units make it hard to keep the cool air in. Many rely on swamp coolers and window AC units.
Pascua Yaqui leaders call on county officials to help reinstate early voting site
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe wants its early voting site back. Chairman Peter S. Yucupicio called on the Pima County Board of Supervisors Tuesday to do what they could to reinstate it.
Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez closed the site about a month before the August 2018 election, telling the tribe's council that the radio station it used for early voting was insecure and had low voter turnout. Tuesday's plea to the board of supervisors was the latest in the tribe's efforts to reopen an early voting site in its reservation southwest of Tucson. The recorder's office sent out a press release Tuesday saying it was too late to provide another secure voting site this year.
Yucupicio said the tribal government is willing to work with the recorder's office and address her objections, but Rodriguez "hasn't given [them] any opportunity to work together on this issue." He said that officials should be trying to make it easier to vote.
UA antibody test expanding to include more Arizonans
COVID-19 antibody testing developed at the University of Arizona earlier this year is being offered to more people across the state.
The state-supported tests had first been available only for essential workers such as health care employees and first responders. UA immunobiologist Deepta Bhattacharya notes the expansion now includes all Arizonans over the age of 18.
Anyone seeking information about free COVID-19 testing can find it on the Pima County Health Department's website.
Arizona has one of the lowest Census response rates in the country
The 2020 census ends in just one month, and field workers are still searching for the 26% of Arizona households that haven’t filled out their form.
The Census Bureau started its door-to-door operations last month to follow up with households that didn't self-respond. The follow-up was delayed three months by the coronavirus pandemic, but still has to wrap up by the end of September. In Southern Arizona, that door-to-door effort is about 35% complete, according to local census officials.
Inadequate follow-up threatens to leave thousands of the state’s residents uncounted, which could have severe consequences for federal funding and political representation.
UA stepping up COVID-19 enforcement
More than 100 cases of COVID-19 are now confirmed on the University of Arizona campus. Those numbers are bringing changes to the university.
Private security guards will begin to patrol the campus to break up large gatherings and enforce mask-wearing requirements.
“Obviously, we don’t want to use our armed police officers to breakup those kinds of gatherings,” said University of Arizona President Robert Robbins.
Members of CAJUA, a group of faculty, graduate, and professional students that opposes the university’s plan for classes, tweeted that the campus is becoming “more and more militarized every day.”
Arizona unemployment boss says extra $300 pay to end soon
PHOENIX — Unemployed Arizona residents who have received an extra $300 a week under a Trump administration coronavirus relief program are likely to lose that extra benefit in the coming weeks.
Department of Economic Security Director Michael Wisehart said Wednesday that Arizonans getting the extra pay on top of the regular $240 per week unemployment benefit will get that cash this week and possibly next. But the pool of federal cash President Donald Trump is tapping could run out after that.
Some 392,000 Arizonans are currently receiving unemployment benefits, up from about 17,500 before the pandemic hit in March.
Navajo Nation to run partial weekend lockdown into September
WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation officials are extending partial weekend lockdowns and daily curfews through September to help control the spread of the coronavirus on the tribe’s reservation.
The lockdowns on the vast reservation in the Four Corners region start at 9 p.m. Saturday and run until 5 a.m. Monday. Daily curfews run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. President Jonathan Nez says residents still have time on Saturdays to prepare for the winter season by gathering firewood, food, water and other supplies.
But the public should avoid traveling to nearby towns and cities on the weekends. Travel increases the risk of infection and bringing it home to family.
Lawsuit seeks to ban Kanye West from Arizona ballot
PHOENIX — An Arizona resident has asked a judge to bar Kanye West from appearing on Arizona’s Nov. 3 ballot.
Rasean Clayton accuses the hip hop artist of serving as an election spoiler. Clayton’s attorneys say independent presidential candidates can appear on Arizona’s ballot if they aren’t registered with a recognized party and gather enough voter signatures to nominate them. They say West isn’t qualified to run because he’s a registered Republican.
West’s attorney, Tim LaSota, said it was hyperbole to claim his client wants to be a spoiler against Democratic nominee Joe Biden. West faces a Friday deadline for turning in more than 39,000 signatures.
Health officials worry nation not ready for COVID-19 vaccine
Public health departments, which have struggled for months to test and trace everyone exposed to the novel coronavirus, are now being told to prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as early as Nov. 1.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling health departments across the country to draft vaccination plans by Oct. 1 “to coincide with the earliest possible release of COVID-19 vaccine.”
But health departments that have been underfunded for decades say they currently lack the staff, money and tools to educate people about vaccines and then to distribute, administer and track doses to some 330 million people.
Arizona State shifts housing plans amid COVID-19 case rise
TEMPE — Arizona State University has announced that some students living on campus will be moved because of an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
University officials said there are 5,000 spaces available in the residence halls to begin shifting students housing arrangements. It is unclear how many students would be moved or when the moves would take place.
The announcement came after the university reported that 775 students and 28 faculty members tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, shortly after in-person classes started Aug. 20. The university has since taken additional precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, including increased security and enforcement.