/ Modified may 1, 2020 4:43 p.m.

Arizona coronavirus news in brief, May 1

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona: El Rio testing, UA revises furlough plan, Wickenburg defies order, and more.

Arizona COVID-19 cumulative counts, Dec. 14

Cases: 420,248 | Deaths: 7,358
The state reported 11,806 more cases and 1 deaths on this day. Choose a Layerlayer and click on county for more.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: ADHS, county health departments, Census 2018 Quick Facts. *Test numbers and rates utilize total test numbers (diagnostic and serology). Cumulative totals are based daily numbers posted by the state. Daily changes don't necessarily reflect the previous 24 hours.

Select regional and national coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic as of Friday, May 1. For more coverage, visit our resource page. This story may be updated.

Learn more about the impacts of the pandemic on this week's episode of Arizona 360.


Pandemic increases need for youth emergency shelter

AZPM, May 1

An emergency shelter for youth in Southern Arizona says more children are seeking out its safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a need for more staff, food and cleaning supplies.

Reunion House is the youth shelter connected to Our Family Services in Tucson. It houses 12- to 17-year-olds for an average of three weeks each. Some stay longer, some only a couple of days. Cindy McClain, the manager of Reunion House, said the shelter plans to stay open during the pandemic in order to provide a safe harbor for kids in unstable homes.

“I just think it’s important to remember, even after COVID goes away, that we do have a significant homeless [youth] population in Tucson that people may just not be aware of,” McClain said.

McClain said that since the pandemic began, the shelter has housed on average of eight kids a night — two more than the average before COVID-19.

Read more here.


El Rio to conduct COVID-19 testing for 'blitz'

AZPM, May 1

El Rio Health will conduct COVID-19 testing at three Tucson locations during the state's three-weekend "testing blitz" that starts Saturday.

The announcement comes after Walgreen's and Banner Health were criticized for setting up testing locations that were inconvenient for people in Tucson's central and south side areas.

El Rio says it will only test existing patients, and only if they show symptoms of coronavirus infection, or have been in contact with someone who's been diagnosed with the virus.

The clinic locations are: 839 West Congress, 101 West Irvington, and 6950 E. Golf Links. All three locations will be open for drive-thru testing from 8 am to 1 pm on the next three Saturdays. To schedule a screening, call 520-670-3909.


UA releases revised furlough, pay cut plan

AZPM, May 1

The University of Arizona has revised its plan to save money during the COVID-19 pandemic, making more detailed salary ranges and their corresponding furlough days or pay cuts.

One of the biggest changes to the plan, according to a Friday morning email from President Robert Robbins, is that UA employees earning less than $44,500 a year will be exempt from furloughs. Under the initial proposal, earners in that category faced 13 unpaid days off.

The new proposal also ups the number of salary ranges and their respective furlough periods and pay cuts. For those making less than $150,000 a year, there are now 26 brackets, while the initial plan had three.

The plan details the salary ranges and corresponding pay cuts for those earning more than $150,000, reducing salaries by a range of 15.4% to 20%.


Changes coming to how dining at a restaurant works

Arizona Daily Star, May 1

Arizonans can expect some differences in their experiences at restaurants, which Gov. Doug Ducey has said may open for dine-in services soon as May 12.

Industry representatives are working with the state to establish guidelines for how that might work. In addition to face masks and gloves on waiters, diners can expect other changes to technology used as well as requirements for distancing.

Changes will likely include things like an absence of condiments on the table, and different practices for paying for your meal.

Learn more at Tucson.com


Sahuarita to restart some public services

AZPM, May 1

The town of Sahuarita says it will be reopening some of its facilities and the services in those places by May 8.

In a May 1 press release citing Gov. Doug Ducey's first steps toward easing COVID-19 restrictions, the town said it will be opening buildings like the town hall and recreation center and restoring certain services. Public park amenities will also reopen, with increased cleaning protocols, the release said, and employees will be required to follow federal distancing guidelines.


Sierra Vista says it will keep facilities closed for the time being

AZPM, May 1

The city of Sierra Vista says it will not open city facilities yet, pointing to the extension of Arizona's stay-at-home order.

In a May 1 press release, the city said it would not open buildings to the public "for now," but did not give a target date for doing so. The release did say the city was finalizing its plans to that end, which will include things like distancing measures and sanitation stations.

Gov. Doug Ducey's extension of the stay-at-home order lasts until May 15, with modified guidance.


Small town of Wickenburg defies Ducey's stay-at-home order

AP, May 1

WICKENBURG, Ariz. (AP) — Warnings from police and health officials didn't stop the Horseshoe Cafe in Wickenburg from serving sit-down customers.

Owner Debbie Thompson and other business owners in the small town west of Phoenix decided Friday to reopen in defiance of Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order. Those who disregard it could face fines. Ducey has extended the restrictions through May 15 but said nonessential retailers big and small can reopen with precautions.

The Republican governor said there are signs the spread of the new virus has slowed in the state, but there’s no clear indication that deaths and new cases are trending down.

Read more here.


New Mexico blocks roads into Gallup as virus cases surge

AP, May 1

SANTA FE, N.M. — The governor of New Mexico invoked the state’s Riot Control Act as she sealed off roads to nonessential traffic in Gallup to help control a surging coronavirus outbreak in the former trading post on the outskirts of the Navajo Nation.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday also announced a ban on nonessential outings and required businesses to close from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the city of about 70,000 people along Interstate 40. Infection rates in Gallup and surrounding McKinley County make it one of the worst U.S. hotspots for the pandemic as patients overwhelm intensive care facilities. Lujan Grisham said physical distancing is not being maintained.

Learn more at the Albuquerque Journal.


'Like I just got out of jail!': States ease their lockdowns

AP, May 1

GRETNA, Louisiana (AP) — Dozens of states are letting restaurants, stores or other businesses reopen in the biggest one-day push yet to get their economies up and running again.

They are acting at their own speed and with their own restrictions and quirks to make sure that the coronavirus doesn't come storming back. People in Louisiana, for example, can eat at restaurants again, though they have to sit outside at tables 10 feet apart with no waiter service.

Meanwhile, the first drug shown to work against the coronavirus has won emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Read more here.


FDA allows emergency use of drug for coronavirus

AP, May 1

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators will allow emergency use of an experimental drug that appears to help some coronavirus patients recover faster. It is the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration acted Friday after preliminary results from a government-sponsored study showed that the drug remdesivir shortened the time to recovery for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that’s not certain from the partial results revealed so far.

Drugmaker Gilead Sciences has said it would donate its currently available stock of the drug and is ramping up production to make more.

Read more here.


Navajo Nation special session cancelled due to virus concern

AP, April 30

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation Council scheduled for Friday has been cancelled so all of the Legislative Branch buildings can be disinfected and sanitized.

Council Speaker Seth Damon announced Thursday night that the move was made “out of an abundance of caution” due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under Legislative Branch protocol, the first instance of a symptomatic report will automatically result in a further closure of program offices.

The Legislative Branch is comprised of 13 programs that have been operating on extremely limited office staff since March. Damon says work will continue to move forward under expanded remote work plans with each of the programs.

Read more here.


Trump’s Phoenix trip first in weeks, as he aims to ‘move around’ more

Cronkite News, April 30

PHOENIX – President Donald Trump will visit Phoenix next week to tour a Honeywell facility that was revamped last month to make N95 masks, his first trip away from the Washington area in more than a month.

Trump disclosed the trip Wednesday during a White House meeting on reopening the U.S. in the face of COVID-19, naming Honeywell as one of several manufacturers that have “stepped up like nobody has ever seen before” and shifted to make medical equipment.

Read more here.


‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum hearings delayed a third time

Fronteras Desk, April 30

HERMOSILLO — Asylum seekers sent back to Mexico under the so-called "Remain In Mexico" program will have to continue waiting for their U.S. court hearings until at least June 2.

Citing coronavirus concerns, the Department of Homeland Security had previously delayed hearings until late April and then again until May 1. But DHS announced Thursday that hearings were being pushed back again through June 1.

Asylum seekers are still expected to show up at U.S. ports of entry on their scheduled hearing dates to receive tear sheets and notices with dates of their rescheduled hearings.

Migrant advocates have opposed the delays, saying continued waits at the border put vulnerable migrants at risk.


Sonoran maquila industry hopes to begin slow restart

Fronteras Desk, April 30

HERMOSILLO — Many of Sonora’s numerous export manufacturing plants have been shuttered for several weeks due to pandemic restrictions. But industry representatives are hoping to begin a slow reopening soon.

Many of those plants — or maquiladoras —are on the border in Nogales, Sonora, where the more than 100 facilities normally employ around 45,000 people. But more than half of them have been sent home. The industry is asking state authorities to allow for an incremental return to full operation starting May 4.

Read more here.

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