COVID-19 in Arizona: 11,000 small businesses approved for loans

PHOENIX – The CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion package of federal relief for Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, included $349 billion in loans for U.S. small-business owners to sustain payroll, pay rent and meet other obligations.

But those funds already have run out. The federal Small Business Association said 10,898 small businesses in Arizona were approved for Payment Protection Program loans totaling more than $3.5 billion.

However, Arizona has 571,000 small businesses, and significant help still is needed, Chris Camacho, president of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, told 3TV.

Scottsdale business owner Brenda Laskoskie is among those left without the answer to an important question: When will she receive the loan that could save her business?

Laskoskie told 3TV that she has operated Dei-Zinz, a fresh flower company in Scottsdale, for 35 years.

Laskoskie was depending on immediate cash relief and applied to her bank for the loan the morning it was available.

“They said, ‘Sorry, we’re all loaned out of our money. Our money is all gone,’” she told the station. “It almost appears as though some of the smaller businesses are getting left out.”

As of April 16, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,234 cases of COVID-19 and 150 deaths in the state. It said 47,398 tests for COVID-19 have been completed as of April 16 in public and private labs in Arizona, and results were negative in 43,562 cases.

Arizona surpasses 4,000 COVID-19 cases

Arizona has crossed the 4,000 mark for confirmed COVID-19 cases, a milestone 22 states already have surpassed, KTAR reports. Every county in Arizona reported an increase in COVID-19 cases by April 16 except La Paz, which has reported five cases two days in a row, The Arizona Republic reported.

Peak in need for medical resources is predicted to be April 30

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations predicts Arizona will see its peak of need for medical resources on April 30, including hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators. The numbers predict Arizona will need 918 beds on April 30, including 228 ICU beds and 202 ventilators, and the institute doesn’t foresee a shortage of those resources.

What it will take to reopen Arizona

Certain criteria are needed for Arizona businesses to open their doors again, Jessica Rigler, assistant director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said Wednesday.

“We’d like to see a continued decrease in the rate of positive cases as well as hospitalizations,” Rigler told KTAR News.

With widespread testing unavailable, the state health department is not looking toward a specific number goal requirement for reopening the economy, Rigler said.

Stimulus checks arrive in Arizona

Federal economic relief payments are starting to arrive for Arizonans who qualify, Cronkite News reports. The check is $1,200, with an extra $500 per dependent child, and unemployment benefits are expected to increase $600 per month.

How to help

Businessmen and local doctors have launched a new nonprofit ProtectAZ, with the sole purpose of raising private funds to locate and distribute medical supplies in Arizona at an expedited rate to fight COVID-19. Visit www.protectAz.org to make requests for supplies or to donate to the cause.

J.J. Santos

Money Reporter, Phoenix

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