/ Modified feb 12, 2021 6:01 p.m.

News roundup: Economic relief for Arizonans in pandemic, vaccine sites increase capacity

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Feb. 12.

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 793,532 | Deaths 14,834

On Friday, Feb. 12, Arizona reported 2,426 new cases of COVID-19 and 172 additional deaths.

A look at economic help for Arizonans one year into the pandemic

The Buzz

A year into the pandemic, many Arizonans are still suffering economic hardship due to loss of income or other COVID-19 factors. Many of those struggling to find work are on the verge of losing their homes and still struggling to put food on the table.

With more federal aid promised by the Biden administration, this week, The Buzz discusses financial and other kinds of help available with Arizona's Governor and Tucson's Mayor.

Listen to the full episode here.

High-capacity vaccine site, childhood vaccines, air travel impacts

Arizona 360

One year into the pandemic Arizona 360 takes a look at how Arizona’s business economy fares throughout the state. Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce gives an update.

For the first time in nearly 40 years air travel is down at Tucson International Airport. Tony Paniagua investigates ongoing challenges to the industry as health implications continue.

A physician offers insight into the benefits and challenges of vaccinating children, plus offers a discussion of outreach efforts to vaccine skeptics.

Watch the full episode here.

Rural counties making strides with COVID-19 vaccines


The majority of Arizona’s population lives in Maricopa and Pima counties. That is one of the main reasons, the state’s three mass COVID-19 vaccination sites are located in the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Some though have criticized the state for emphasizing the metro areas over rural areas for the location of the state-run mass vaccination sites.

Governor Doug Ducey told AZPM, while population density was an important deciding factor for vaccination site location so was the amount of vaccine being delivered.

Learn more here.

Waiting for COVID-19 variants


Four of Arizona’s COVID-19 cases have been caused by variants of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Pima County health officials say despite the presence of variants in the state, so far none has appeared locally.

Pima County is ramping up genomic testing for the variants. Dr. Theresa Cullen, director of the Pima County Department of Health, said the county is working with T-Gen to test 50-75 of the positive cases from Pima County each week.

Learn more here.

Historic preservation council says mitigation commitments don't 'offset the destruction' of Oak Flat


The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation announced Thursday it's not signing a mitigation commitment, known as a Programmatic Agreement, between a variety of players concerning the congressionally mandated land transfer of Oak Flat to a copper mining company.

Oak Flat is on the National Register of Historic Places and an Apache religious site, but it's also in the path of a proposed massive copper mine.

Reid Nelson is a leader within the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He says though he appreciates the forest service's efforts to mitigate damage to the historical places in the proposed mine site, it's not enough.

Learn more here.

Biden terminates Trump's emergency declaration for border wall construction


President Joe Biden has officially terminated the national emergency declaration imposed by the Trump administration along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the letter to Congress, Biden said no more taxpayer dollars would be diverted to the construction of his predecessor's border wall, and resources already directed toward the project would be reassessed.

Trump’s declaration has been in place since February 2019 and was used to direct military funds to the wall. It now spans some 450 miles of borderland, including almost 230 in Arizona.

Learn more here.

Tucson invests for pension payments


Tucson city leaders have mapped out an investment strategy to save taxpayers from losing money while paying into a retirement fund for public safety officers.

Tucson, like most Arizona municipalities, pays into the state pension fund that provides retirement benefits for police officers and firefighters. Those payments can be costly for the city.

To solve the problem, in the simplest terms, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and the City Council approved a plan to sell bonds to pay down the city’s portion of the debt to the pension fund.

Learn more here.

No positive COVID-19 tests at UA


On Feb. 10, the University of Arizona reported no positive COVID-19 tests out of the 1791 tests it administered to students, faculty, and staff that day.

That marked the first time since August, when the university began reporting its daily test results, that there were more than 300 tests and no positive results.

In recent weeks, the university began requiring all students living on campus to be tested twice a week while students coming to campus along with faculty and staff working on campus were required to test once a week.

Learn more here.

Fort Yuma Quechan Tribal Council member dies after getting COVID-19


A council member for the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe in Yuma County died Saturday after contracting COVID-19, according to the tribe's president.

Claudette C. White died almost a month after being sworn in to the tribal council Jan. 4, 2021. Throughout her life, White also served on the Quechan and San Manuel tribal courts. She was the Chief Judge of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Court from 2018 to 2020.

Learn more here.

Information shows economic disparity in Phoenix vaccinations


PHOENIX — New information released by Maricopa County indicates there are sharp economic disparities in metro Phoenix when it comes to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health posted a detailed breakdown this week of administered vaccines by age, race, ZIP code and other factors.

A coded map reveals that upscale areas like Scottsdale have a high vaccination rate. Neighborhoods in south Phoenix are much lower in comparison.

Arizona on Friday reported 2,426 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 172 additional deaths. Since the pandemic began, the state has seen more than 790,000 cases and over 14,000 deaths.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 53 new COVID-19 cases, 11 more deaths


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation health officials on Thursday reported 53 new COVID-19 cases and 11 more deaths. The latest figures raised the totals to 29,098 cases and 1,097 known deaths since the pandemic began.

Tribal officials said additional federal personnel are beginning to arrive to support vaccination efforts on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajo Department of Health has identified 44 communities with uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 from Jan. 22 to Feb. 4, down from 75 communities in recent weeks.

The tribe has extended its stay-at-home order with a revised nightly curfew to limit the virus’ spread on the reservation. The Navajo Nation also is lifting weekend lockdowns to allow more vaccination events.

Learn more here.

Biden to slowly allow 25,000 people seeking asylum into US


SAN DIEGO — The Biden administration says an estimated 25,000 people who are seeking asylum and have been forced to wait in Mexico will be allowed into the U.S. while their cases wind through immigration courts.

Authorities plan to slowly let people in at three border crossings in Texas and California, starting on Feb. 19.

It's a major step toward dismantling one of former President Donald Trump’s most consequential policies to deter asylum-seekers from coming to the U.S. About 70,000 have been enrolled in the “Remain in Mexico” program since it was introduced in January 2019. Those being allowed back have active cases.

Learn more here.

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