COVID-19 in Arizona: Map tracks cases by ZIP code; federal relief coming to universities

PHOENIX – New COVID-19 data released Sunday by the Arizona Department of Health Services breaks down cases by ZIP codes, race and ethnicity, although the data is incomplete in some areas.

The state produced a map that indicated Scottsdale and Tucson are seeing many cases, as are the areas around Flagstaff and Page in northern Arizona. However, health officials left out information that would pinpoint outbreak locations, according to the Arizona Republic.

The data also is incomplete when it comes to race and ethnicity. The state said race or ethnicity was unknown for 63% of patients who tested for the novel coronavirus and for 49% of people who died of COVID-19.

But the data does show that Native Americans, men and people 65 or older make up a high percentage of Arizona’s COVID-19 related deaths.

Out of 122 deaths in Arizona, 84 have been people 65 and older, and 62% of COVID-19 related deaths have been men, the Department of Health Services reported.

However, American Indian and Alaska Natives, who make up 5.3% of Arizona’s population according to the census, have had 16% of COVID-19 deaths in the state, health officials said.

In terms of ventilators, the state has 1,195 available and 366 in use. Arizona has 2,998 inpatient beds available and 4,489 are in use. In addition, the state has 996 intensive-care beds available and 999 are in use.

Cronkite News reached out to the Arizona Department of Health Services for comment but did not receive a response before the deadline.

As of Monday, April 13, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,702 cases of COVID-19 and 122 deaths in Arizona. It said 43,347 tests for COVID-19 have been completed in public and private labs in Arizona as of Monday, and results were negative in 39,645 tests.

Yuma County reports first COVID-19 related death

Yuma County reported its first confirmed COVID-19 death Sunday: a woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions. As of Monday, there are 20 confirmed cases in the county, according to health officials. “We’ve all seen reports of outbreak-related deaths in other states and countries,” Diana Gomez, county health services director said in a press release. “But this Yuma County death reminds us how important it is to continue working to protect each other during this outbreak.”

Arizona lawmakers recess

The Legislature has recessed indefinitely to slow the spread of COVID-19, azcentral reported over the weekend. Legislators will still collect per diem payments that are meant to help cover food, lodging and other expenses. Full payments will continue through May 11, unless lawmakers opt out, or the Legislature adjourns for the year before then. The daily allowance is in addition to the $24,000 salary each lawmaker receives.

Tax-paying Immigrants excluded from stimulus checks

Millions of immigrants who don’t have legal status but work and pay taxes in the U.S. will not receive stimulus checks, the Associated Press reported. People who earn up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income, and who have a Social Security number will receive $1,200, but nearly 4.3 million unauthorized immigrants file taxes using a taxpayer identification number. “COVID-19 does not care about your immigration status, so neither should our response,” U.S. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Tucson, said in a statement.

CARES Act giving coronavirus aid to Arizona universities

All three state universities in Arizona will receive millions of dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, and that includes students, KTAR reported. Arizona universities are required to set aside half of the money that comes through the CARE Act for students to use for course materials, technology and housing. According to the list of allocations, Arizona State University will receive more $63 million, and almost $32 million will go towards students.

The federal funds come at a time when the University of Arizona has announced a temporary hiring freeze to save money. The Arizona Daily Star reported that UArizona could go further and freeze salaries and furlough people to deal with the financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. The university’s Financial Sustainability Emergency Response Taskforce said there will be no hiring through the end of June.

Stay-at-home orders increase the risk of domestic violence

Social distancing and self-isolation have become the main ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, but those practices force many to remain in unsafe and abusive homes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual or physical violence by intimate partners Cronkite News reported. At least 1 in 7 children have faced child abuse or neglect in the past year.

Tasha Menaker, co-CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence, said increased strain amid the COVID-19 outbreak could potentially increase these rates of violence.
“We know because of the pandemic … resources are limited,” Menaker said. “And so whenever there’s extra stress in the house, especially if it’s financial stress, and then on top of that isolation, there’s that risk of violence increasing.”

How to help

St. Vincent de Paul is continuing its services to feed, clothe, house and heal the homeless community during the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent the spread of the disease, the organization has limited the number of people gathering together and sanitizes surfaces every hour. “In our resources center, we have actually taped off where people should stand, kind of six feet apart as they are waiting to come into the center,” said Marisol Saldivar, public relations manager for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Human Service Campus is open to serve single adults experiencing homelessness. According to Amy Scwabenlender, human service campus executive director, the campus still has over 800 people every day coming to seek their services. Both The Human Service Campus and St. Vincent de Paul are accepting donations during this time.

Social Justice Reporter, Phoenix
News Reporter, Phoenix

Caroline Linch is an Alabama native who is graduating this December with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in film and media production. She is a digital intern for Celebrity Page TV, and she hopes to work in the TV entertainment industry.