PHOENIX – In the days since Gov. Doug Ducey announced the reopening of Arizona schools this fall and youth sports this summer, the Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 2,173 new cases of COVID-19, with Friday and Saturday setting successive single-day records of 702 and 790 cases, respectively.
The state has issued guidance on safely reopening youth sports and activities, much of it relying on parents to take the appropriate steps to assure the health of young children, teachers and coaches who could be exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“Our approach is going to remain calm and steady, we’re going to take urgent action when it comes to public health,” Ducey said Thursday. Ducey lifted Arizona’s statewide stay-at-home order on May 15.
“We would recommend to every Arizonan to take precautions,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “If you start to develop symptoms, stay home.”
Those concerns were echoed by Navajo leaders, who urged tribal members to continue taking precautions.
“We have to keep doing what we’re doing by wearing protective masks, complying with the weekend lockdowns, staying home and practicing social distancing,” Navajo President Jonathan Nez said in a statement this week. Although the reservation covers parts of several counties, about 17% of those tested in Navajo County have tested positive for the virus, the second-highest percentage in the state.
On Sunday, May 31, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 681 news cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 19,936 cases and 906 deaths in the state. It said 318,573 tests for COVID-19 had been completed in public and private labs in Arizona, and 5.6% of tests had come back positive for the virus. Just under 4.4% of Arizonans have been tested to date.
Scottsdale mayor met with Old Town business owners
Mayor Jim Lane, responding to reports of packed bars and clubs in Old Town over the Memorial Day weekend, met with several Scottsdale business owners to discuss following public health guidelines, according to Fox 10 Phoenix. “The images from Old Town Scottsdale this weekend are disturbing, and frankly show a real lack of common sense and civic responsibility,” Lane said after images and video went viral. Lane said most owners were cooperative, “almost apologetic,” and they blamed the problems on a crush of out of state visitors and overwhelmed staff members.
Enhanced COVID-19 testing at Yuma prison complex
Enhanced COVID-19 testing will be available to all correctional officers and prison employees at the Yuma prison complex, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry said Thursday. “This is an exceptional bipartisan example of people coming together in service for the greater good in providing COVID-19 testing to our brave frontline men and women who continue to defend public service throughout the pandemic,” David Shinn, corrections department director, said in a news release.
Southern Arizona clinic expecting 500 COVID-19 test kits
The Mariposa Community Health Center, which has offices in Nogales and Rio Rico, is expecting 500 COVID-19 testing kits from the state this week, as well as 500 kits per week over the next five weeks. According to the Nogales International, 18.2% of Santa Cruz County’s population has tested positive for the virus – the highest of any Arizona county.
Cowboy up! Prescott rodeo allowed to proceed
Officials with the 133rd annual World’s Oldest Rodeo confirmed the bulls and broncos will buck next month, whether fans are allowed to attend or not, the Daily Courier reported after Ducey told a news conference Thursday “the cowboys and the bulls can get ready.” The rodeo is slated for June 29 through July 5.
Cooking to combat COVID-19
On Saturday, Native Americans for Community Action will host a free online cooking session to teach people how to make plant-based foods that promote health during the pandemic. The program agenda includes cooking demos and various speakers, including Navajo President Jonathan Nez.
Navajo COVID curve flattens
The curve of positive COVID-19 tests on the Navajo Nation Reservation has begun to flatten, Nez announced Thursday. Despite that progress, tribal leaders issued the eighth weekend curfew to prevent the further spread of the virus, Cronkite News reports.