/ Modified apr 9, 2021 3:58 p.m.

News roundup: Arizona prepares for fire season, border communities see uptick in apprehensions

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 9.

Arizona COVID-19 cases: 7 days

Map shows COVID-19 cases and case rates over the week preceding the last update.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, Census Bureau. Case reports do not correspond to day of test.

Cases 848,202 | Deaths 17,062

On Friday, April 9, Arizona reported 1,302 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths. Officials attribute the relatively high case count to a review of deaths not previously identified as being COVID-related, the Associated Press reports.

How drought and constant fire are impacting Arizona

The Buzz

The last twelve months have been the driest year on record, that's according to the Tucson National Weather Service. Tucson saw just over 4 inches of rain in 2020 — that is 6 - 8 inches below average.

This week, The Buzz looks at how higher temperatures, increased drought and wildfires interconnect.

Listen to the full episode here.

Border officials report a record number of apprehensions, but most are still being turned away


New data out from Customs and Border Protection shows agents and port personnel encountered more than 170,000 people across U.S.-Mexico border last month, higher than at any time since at least 2006.

Migrant advocates say natural and man-made disasters in Mexico and Central America are driving more people to the border. But conservative politicians like Arizona Governor Doug Ducey insist the increase is because President Joe Biden is rolling back Trump administration immigration policies.

"I’m going to call this situation what it is, a crisis, a man-made crisis, caused by elites in Washington D.C. who are totally divorced from realities on the ground," Ducey said last month during a press event in Douglas.

Learn more here.

COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Native Americans in downtown Tucson


The Tucson Indian Center and the Pima County Health Department are teaming up Saturday to vaccinate Native Americans against COVID-19, but shots are limited so reservations are necessary.

Members of federally recognized tribes can get one of about 90 vaccine doses to be administered at the Tucson Indian Center downtown. All of the shots will use the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which does not require a second dose to fully vaccinate recipients.

Non-Indigenous people who live with tribal members are encouraged to register, too, and non-tribal members who are essential employees at TIC or who live with one are also eligible.

Learn more here.

Ducey willing to pay for National Guard at the border


Governor Doug Ducey is continuing to criticize the White House over border policy.

During a Thursday news conference, Ducey said he is willing to act on the border without federal backing.

The governor said he will direct the Arizona National Guard to support the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He also said if he is willing to have the state pay for that duty if the federal government will not chip in.

Learn more here.

Wildfire's growth halted; evacuation notice remains in place


DUDLEYVILLE — Officials say a small community in south-central Arizona remained under an evacuation notice Friday after crews and air tankers stopped the growth of a wildfire that burned at least 12 homes on Thursday.

The fire burning through thick vegetation in a river bottom near Dudleyville was estimated at 500 acres with containment around 20% of its perimeter as of Thursday night.

Cause of the fire near the unincorporated Pinal County town was under investigation.

The county Sheriff’s Office said approximately 200 residents were evacuated and that the evacuation notice might be lifted Friday evening or Saturday morning. The Red Cross set up a shelter at Ray High School in Kearny.

Learn more here.

Arizona daily virus count jumps as older cases included


PHOENIX — Arizona officials have reported 1,302 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The daily increase reported Friday is nearly twice as high as the state’s recent daily average. But officials said the new numbers were inflated by hundreds of months-old infections previously not documented as virus-related.

The state also reported seven more deaths as the pandemic totals increased to 848,202 cases and 17,062 deaths.

Not counting the 625 newly classified cases, the 677 other additional cases reported Friday nearly mirrored the state’s latest seven-day rolling average of 673 new cases as of Wednesday.

In another development, the state announced it will open a mass vaccination site in Flagstaff on April 19.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 15 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 15 more confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death.

The latest figures bring the pandemic totals on the tribe’s reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, increased to 30,213 with the known death toll at 1,260.

On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation, which came from a test sample obtained in the Chinle service unit area.

The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S.

Learn more here.

Policy changes help drive US migrant crossings to new highs


BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Complex forces are driving an increase in the number of migrant families and unaccompanied children coming to the U.S.

Many say President Joe Biden's positions on immigration, whether real or rumored, have influenced their decisions.

About four in 10 border encounters last month were with families and children traveling alone. It comes as policies in the U.S. and Mexico favor them staying in the United States while they seek asylum.

The March total includes nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children, the highest monthly number on record. They are exempt from federal pandemic-related powers that quickly expel migrants without a chance for asylum.

Learn more here.

Mexico expects a 'constant and growing' flow of migrants


MEXICO CITY — Mexico's top diplomat says his country expects “constant and growing” flows of migrants in coming years, and he estimates the United States must spend $2 billion per year in development aid to stem the tide.

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday that Mexico has proposed investing money in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and expects the United States to join the effort.

Those three Central American countries have been sending the largest number of migrants to the U.S. southern border. U.S. Border Patrol had 168,195 encounters with migrants last month, the highest since March 2001.

Learn more here.

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