/ Modified feb 16, 2021 3:54 p.m.

News roundup: Alcohol abuse rises during lockdown, state-run UA vaccination site opens registration

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Feb. 16.

Arizona COVID-19 cases: 7 days

Map shows COVID-19 cases and case rates over the week preceding the last update.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, Census Bureau. Case reports do not correspond to day of test.

Cases 799,740 | Deaths 14,981

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, Arizona reported 1,132 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.

Alcohol abuse soars in lockdown


Being in lockdown during the pandemic is driving a lot of people to drink.

A study by a group of University of Arizona health science researchers concludes that people who are free to leave their homes are about as likely to drink as they were before the COVID-19 outbreak. But UA psychiatry professor Dr. William "Scott" Killgore says those who are forced to stay home are much more likely to abuse alcohol.

The six-month study surveyed six thousand adults across the country. The share who report behavior considered "severe alcohol abuse" stayed at about four percent in areas without lockdowns, but grew to more than seventeen percent - or more than one in six adults - in places where lockdowns were in place.

Learn more here.

State registration open for UA COVID-19 vaccines


On Thursday, the University of Arizona’s vaccination site will switch to a state-run, mass vaccination site.

Registering for vaccinations at the site can now be made through the state’s registration portal.

People who have already registered through the state for first or second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at UA will still get their inoculations at the university.

The university site is run by the state which means in addition to educators, first responders, and medical workers, people aged 65 and over are eligible to get vaccines. The vaccine sites run by Pima County do not take anyone under the age of 70.

Learn more here.

UA worried party could become COVID-19 super spreader


Hundreds of people went to a Super Bowl party next to the campus of the University of Arizona, and that has UA officials worried.

“We had a 200-person party at one of the high rises, the police were called, they came and then they moved across the street to another high rise ,” said Robert Robbins, President, University of Arizona.

Robbins said students at the party were referred to the Dean of Students office for student conduct code violations. Students at parties during COVID-19 pandemic can face suspension or even expulsion from the university.

Learn more here.

Number of pandemic deaths in Arizona nearing 15,000


Arizona is on the cusp of reaching a pandemic death toll of 15,000.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,132 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths. That brings the overall number of cases in Arizona to 799,740 and the number of deaths to 14,981.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients who remain hospitalized and the number who are in the ICU continue to trend downward.

According to the state dashboard, 2,047 people were hospitalized for the virus as of Monday. They amount to a 24% occupancy of all hospital beds. Around 600, or 34%, of all ICU beds are being used for COVID-19 patients.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation confirms 13 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new death


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation officials reported 13 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death.

The latest numbers released Monday bring the total number of cases on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah to 29,283 since the pandemic began. There have been 1,112 deaths reported related to COVID-19. Navajo

Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement that even those who have been fully vaccinated need to continue taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus. He also commended health care workers for helping to get people vaccinated, especially when compared to the rate in areas surrounding the Navajo Nation.

Learn more here.

UA to help digitize Native American oral histories


The University of Arizona will join six other schools to help digitize the oral histories of Native Americans collected during the 1960s and 1970s. The Arizona Daily Star reported that the project aims to make the histories more accessible to Native communities, tribal colleges and the public.

The universities will use a $1.35 million grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to translate and index the recordings.

The foundation says the recordings and materials span 150 Indigenous cultures and include more than 6,500 recordings of people reflecting on their traditions and experiences living on reservations and attending Native American schools.

Learn more here.

Woman dies in car crash at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base


Police in Tucson have identified a young woman who died after crashing her vehicle on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Authorities said Monday that 18-year-old Diamond Aaliyah Rose and her car were found on the base over the weekend. Rose was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to investigators, Rose was last heard from Saturday around 8:30 p.m. Personnel at Davis-Monthan spotted her car around 9 a.m. Sunday.

It’s not known when exactly the crash occurred. Police say evidence on the roadway indicates that Rose was traveling west on Picacho Road when she failed to navigate a curve. Her car went off the road and struck a culvert.

Learn more here.

Arizona panel votes to boost unlawful protest penalties


PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers are considering boosting penalties for people arrested at protests.

The measure that advanced Monday out of a House committee drew opposition from civil rights groups worried officers will target Black Lives Matter demonstrators or others with messages police find distasteful.

The bill is among several advancing in the Republican-controlled Legislature in the wake of demonstrations against police brutality last year.

Critics worry the measures would discourage people from exercising their First Amendment right to protest. Supporters say it would support free speech rights by preventing people with violent intentions from hijacking peaceful protests.

Learn more here.

GOP-led Arizona Senate OKs major school voucher expansion


PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate has approved a major expansion of the state’s school voucher program.

All 16 Republicans backed the proposal on Monday over protests from minority Democrats who called the bill a slap in the face of voters who rejected a slightly larger expansion just over two years ago.

Glendale Republican Sen. Paul Boyer's bill would make all children attending schools with a high percentage of low-income families or who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches eligible for the state’s voucher program. The program allows parents to take state funding and pay for religious or other private education and education costs.

Learn more here.

Latinos face barriers like fear, language in getting vaccine


HIALEAH, Fla. — Latinos are facing daunting barriers to getting COVID-19 vaccines, creating a risk for public health as the coronavirus mutates and spreads.

Many are struggling with a lack of knowledge about the shots, state vaccine websites that don’t have Spanish instructions, ways to find appointments in their communities and fears they could be targeted for immigration enforcement.

Ranging from the elderly Cuban Americans in Florida to farmworkers in California, Latinos tend to have health problems like diabetes, obesity and hypertension. That makes them one of the groups at highest risk from COVID-19 in the U.S.

Learn more here.

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