/ Modified apr 12, 2021 4:01 p.m.

News roundup: Biden nominates TPD chief to lead CBP, new housing for asylum seekers to open near airport

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 12.

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 850,236 | Deaths 17,086

On Monday, April 12, Arizona reported 675 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. Over 2.5 million Arizonans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Associated Press reports.

TPD Chief Chris Magnus to be nominated to lead Customs and Border Protection


The New York Times is reporting that President Biden will nominate Tucson Chief of Police Chris Magnus to lead Customs and Border Protection.

If confirmed, Mr. Magnus would play a central role in how the Biden administration handles a record number of border crossings – including thousands of unaccompanied children - a number that is projected to increase in the coming months.

Chief Magnus received national attention when a photograph of him in uniform holding a Black Lives Matter sign during a protest in Richmond went viral.

Last June, he offered to resign as TPD chief as he released a video in which a 27-year-old Latino man, Carlos Ingram Lopez, died in police custody.

Learn more here.

New Housing For Asylum Seekers To Open In Tucson

Fronteras Desk

A tent-like facility to house migrants will go up near the Tucson International Airport in the coming weeks, according to a Tucson Border Patrol official.

The facility will be located between the airport and Interstate 10, and is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of May.

The facility is designed to hold 500 people, but COVID-19 restrictions will cap the capacity at about 200 for the time being.

The Casa Alitas shelter in Tucson, which helped house thousands of asylum seekers in 2019, will also be in use in the coming months.

The Border Patrol reported more than 170,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border last month, including nearly 20,000 in the Tucson sector.

Arizona reports 675 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, no deaths


PHOENIX — Health officials in Arizona are reporting 675 new confirmed COVID-19 cases but a second day with no new deaths.

The state’s case total as of Monday stands at 850,236 since the pandemic began with the known death toll remaining at 17,086.

Roughly 4.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Arizona so far. Over 2.5 million people — more than a third of the state’s population — have received at least one dose, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

The state Department of Health Services will open a new indoor state-run vaccination site at Arizona State University’s Desert Financial Arena on Monday morning.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation confirms 10 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation has reported 10 new confirmed COVID-19 cases but no additional deaths.

The latest numbers released Sunday night brought the pandemic totals on the tribe’s reservation to 30,265 cases and 1,262 known deaths.

Tribal officials had ordered a weekend lockdown over fears that a new variant could drive another deadly surge. The Stay-At-Home order required all Navajo Nation residents to refrain from unnecessary travel to help limit the spread of the virus, including a new and more contagious strain.

The first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah was confirmed last week.

Learn more here.

Navajo president vetoes reopening tribal roads to visitors


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has vetoed a resolution to reopen tribal roads on the reservation to tourists and other visitors.

Nez said Friday in a statement that he vetoed the resolution approved March 31 by the Navajo Nation Council because COVID-19 variants are spreading in the region and because more people need to be vaccinated to move closer to herd immunity. Nez also said the Navajo people's health must be prioritized over visitors' desires.

The closure does not affect state highways that pass through the reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Learn more here.

Officials seek dismissal in prison worker assault lawsuit


PHOENIX — Three Arizona officials are seeking to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by a corrections officer who says her supervisor sexually assaulted her and three others who worked there.

The lawsuit says managers at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence created an atmosphere where Sgt. Jason McClelland believed he could harass others without consequences.

An attorney representing the officer who filed the lawsuit says the conduct was so pervasive that it would have been difficult to imagine officials didn’t know.

McClelland is charged with sexually assaulting three women and also faces a misdemeanor assault charge on accusations of slapping the buttocks of another woman who worked at the prison. An attorney representing McClelland declined to comment.

Learn more here.

Evacuation notice lifted in area where fire destroyed homes


DUDLEYVILLE — An evacuation notice was lifted Saturday for a south-central Arizona community where a wildfire earlier burned at least 12 homes, allowing approximately 200 residents to return home.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said the Dudleyville area reverted to a standby status in case a new evacuation is necessary.

The fire that burned 1200 acres including thick vegetation along the Gila River’s bottom was contained around 50% of its perimeter as of Saturday as crews mopped up hot spots.

The fire started Thursday morning and its growth was largely halted that night. Crews extended and improved containment lines Friday.

Learn more here.

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