June 26, 2020 / Modified jun 26, 2020 5:54 p.m.

Daily News Roundup: Banner facilities activate 'surge plans,' wildfire evacuation notice

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, June 26

Arizona COVID-19 one-week snapshot, July 3

This map looks at the changes in reported Arizona COVID-19 data over a one-week period. In the last week, Arizona reported 25,400 new cases (38% increase), 253 more deaths (16% increase) and 504 additional hospitalizations. The state reported a daily average of 3,628.57 cases and 36.14 deaths. Choose a Layerlayer and click on a county to learn more.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: ADHS, county health departments, Census 2018 Quick Facts. Test numbers combine diagnostic and antibody tests. Percent positive is calculated using daily reported cases and daily reported tests. Daily reports may not reflect recent data, the state says.

Arizona added thousands more to the reported number of COVID-19 cases in the state, reporting an additional 3,428 and bringing the total to 66,458. Forty-five additional deaths were reported, bringing that number to 1,535. The numbers come one day after the governor conceded Arizona was still in its "first wave" of the novel coronavirus and that things would get worse in the coming days.

Banner Health facilities activate 'surge plans'


The Arizona Republic reports that some Banner Health facilities have activated their "surge plans" as many intensive care units fill nearly to capacity with COVID-19 patients.

A Banner spokeswoman says that includes the company's hospitals in Tucson.

Surge plans include converting unused or underused portions of the hospital to treating COVID-19 patients.

The state's COVID-19 website reports 88% of the state's intensive care beds were in use Friday. The site reported 3,428 new coronavirus cases were reported today.

Gov. Doug Ducey Thursday urged people to stay home, or if they choose to go out, wear masks and practice social distancing. He did not announce any plans to reinstate his stay-at-home order, which expired in mid-May.

More evacuations for wildfire in Tucson outskirts


Jun 26, 2020 4:59PM (GMT 23:59) A wildfire burning on nearly 128 square miles in the outskirts of Tucson has again resulted in evacuations.

Pima County officials said Friday afternoon that residents in the eastern slope of the Catalina Mountains should evacuate. The fire was caused by lightning on June 5 and is only 33% contained.

The dry and windy conditions have only made firefighting conditions worse. Nearly 1,200 personnel are fighting the fire. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey traveled to the Tucson area Monday to get a briefing from fire officials.

Hard-hit tribe takes strict steps as virus surges


FLAGSTAFF — A hard-hit tribe in Arizona is putting tougher restrictions in place to prevent further spread of the coronavirus in a state where infections are surging.

The White Mountain Apache Tribe has ordered residents to go on lockdown this weekend or risk fines. A two-week shelter-in-place order will follow. It also banned visitors who flock to the area's forests to escape the Arizona desert heat.

The measures are among the strictest in the state that’s recording over 3,000 cases a day and running short on hospital space. More than one-eighth of the tribe's 13,500 residents already have tested positive for COVID-19.

Learn more here.

Vigil for Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez


To Tucson attorney Isabel Garcia, the El Tiradito shrine is where community members gather to pray for thousands of migrants who died crossing the desert. Speaking to a crowd at the historic shrine last night, Garcia said now it would also honor Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez.

"I thank the family and welcome them to this sacred space," she said. "They stand in a space where we remember people."

Lopez died in Tucson police custody at the home of his grandmother, Magdalena Ingram, in April. Grueling police footage of his death was made public this week. Police were called to the house by Ingram-Lopez's grandmother, who said he was behaving erratically and could be intoxicated.

To see photos and learn more about the vigil, click here.

Mayor Romero discusses support for Chief Magnus, need for change


Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is a strong defender of Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus. When Magnus offered to resign following the release of police body camera video showing the death of Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez, Romero was one of a chorus of voices defending the chief.

On Tuesday, the mayor and council will begin a public discussion about funding for TPD. She says it is time to take a close look at how things are done.

To hear an extended interview, click here.

TPD officers face state review

The Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board will review the case of the three officers involved in the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez.

Anytime a police officer or sheriff’s deputy in Arizona leaves a department, for any reason, the board is notified, and an investigation is launched.

The board will review the case of the three TPD officers who resigned for their involvement in the death of Ingram-Lopez.

Learn more here.

Scottsdale bars close, 1 charged with safety rule violation


SCOTTSDALE — Some bars and nightclubs in suburban Phoenix have temporarily closed and one was charged after receiving a notice ordering them to comply with social distancing and facial covering requirements as Arizona reports increasing confirmed coronavirus cases.

Riot Hospitality Group spokeswoman Lissa Druss says Scottsdale establishments El Hefe, Riot House and Whiskey Row closed Thursday. It is unclear when they will reopen. The announcement came after Riot House was charged with failing to comply with safety guidelines. Riot House was one of eight bars and restaurants receiving notices from state liquor licensing officials.

Learn more here.

Federal court rules president's use of military funds for border wall is illegal


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the Trump administration's use of military funds for border wall construction is unlawful.

The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Southern Border Communities Coalition and the Sierra Club.

Dan Millis, borderlands program manager with the local Sierra Club chapter, said the ruling supported their argument that many of the new border wall projects are being illegally funded with money originally intended to support military bases.

Learn more here.

Arizona 360, The Buzz explore wildfire season in Arizona.

This week, Arizona Public Media explored wildfire season in the state, on Arizona 360 and The Buzz, as the Bighorn Fire continues to burn in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Arizona 360 also spoke with mayors of two municipalities taking two different approaches to getting people to wear masks; examined how rising COVID-19 cases have impacted the restaurant industry; and spoke with people affected by recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on LGBTQ rights and DACA.

Governors who quickly reopened backpedal as virus surges


AUSTIN, Texas — An alarming resurgence of coronavirus infections across the country has some governors retreating to measures they previously resisted. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday ordered bars to shut down again and scaled back restaurant dining in latest rollbacks amid a surge in confirmed virus cases.

It comes weeks after the state was among the first to let retailers and restaurants open back up for business. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey did the same. Critics bristle that the course corrections are too little and perhaps too late. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he won’t delay reopening, while Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said imposing statewide mask requirements could cause backlash.

Learn more here.

As virus grows, governors rely on misleading hospital data


Governors in states seeing huge spikes in the coronavirus often downplay the outbreak by citing statewide data to assure the public they have plenty of hospital capacity to survive the onslaught of cases.

But experts say those numbers are often misleading in guiding decisions on whether to keep open a state during the pandemic.” Several states in the South and West are behind a big surge in COVID-19 cases. Statewide data can overlook places where hubs of the illness are filling hospitals.

Health care experts say regional hospitalization statistics and things like 14-day and seven-day infection rates are better indicators.

Learn more here.

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