/ Modified mar 19, 2021 6:01 p.m.

News roundup: Community responds to changes in COVID restrictions, forecasters track Southern Arizona’s growth

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, March 19.

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 835,030 | Deaths 16,691

On Friday, March 19, Arizona reported 423 new cases of COVID-19 and 46 additional deaths.


Local businesses and schools adapt to changes in COVID restrictions

The Buzz

Governor Doug Ducey has ordered schools to offer in-person instruction and lifted capacity restrictions on indoor dining. Arizona's daily average of COVID-19 cases continues to decline but new variants are spreading in the state.

This week, The Buzz discusses these reopening steps and hears what the last year has been like for teachers and restaurant owners.

Listen to the full episode here.


Southern Arizona growth, Gila County vaccinations, understanding variants

Arizona 360

Arizona 360 learns more about growth trends during the pandemic. Sun Corridor’s VP of Economic Development Susan Dumon provides insight on the types of companies and manufacturers that are choosing to expand in Pima County.

Lorraine Rivera also speaks to Meritage Homes Division President Jeff Grobstein about its plans to break ground on two new housing communities in the Marana and Vail areas. Arizona Republic digital opinions editor Joanna Allhands discusses how continued growth in the state challenges existing water resources.

Tony Paniagua travels to Gila County to see firsthand its approach to vaccinating residents against COVID-19.

UA virologist Felicia Goodrum helps us understand more about the COVID-19 variants that are spreading across the U.S.

Watch the full episode here.


Democratic lawmaker Kirsten Engel announces run for Congress

AP

A state lawmaker from Tucson is the first major candidate to jump into the race to replace retiring Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.

Sen. Kirsten Engel announced Friday she plans to run in what's likely to be a crowded Democratic primary. Engel is an environmental law professor at University of Arizona and was elected last year to her first term in the Arizona Senate following two terms in the House.

The district currently includes parts of Tucson and Southeastern Arizona, but the boundaries will change due to redistricting ahead of the 2022 election.

Learn more here.


Navajo Nation nears 30K COVID-19 cases since pandemic began

AP

WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported six more deaths and 18 new cases of COVID-19 as the total number of cases approaches the 30,000 mark since the pandemic began.

The latest numbers pushed the tribe’s pandemic total to 29,987 confirmed cases and 1,228 known deaths.

The Navajo Nation had a soft reopening Monday with 25% capacity for some businesses under certain restrictions. Still, mask mandates and daily curfews remain.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez is strongly urging all residents to limit their travel to only essential activities. He says now is not the time to go on vacation or to hold large in-person gatherings on the reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Learn more here.


With incoming Arizona heat, vaccine sites to move in April

AP

PHOENIX — Arizona's top health official says state-run outdoor vaccination sites will switch to nighttime operations or shut down next month in anticipation of hotter temperatures.

State Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said Friday officials are already eying indoor venues to replace the parking lot operations at State Farm Stadium in Glendale and Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The state has already identified a site in Mesa that will replace the vaccination clinic at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

The University of Arizona site in Tucson, however, will continue administering vaccines outdoors.

State Farm Stadium will only give out doses between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. starting April 4.

Learn more here.


Arizona governor, Florida senator blast Biden over border

AP

PHOENIX — Republicans overseeing their party’s efforts to elect senators and governors trekked to the Arizona-Mexico border and laid blame for a surge in migrants at the feet of President Joe Biden.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Florida Sen. Rick Scott visited Douglas, Arizona, on Friday as the GOP looks to weaponize the influx of migrants against Democrats.

Ducey said, “Joe Biden has broken our border" and demanded that the Democratic president make clear that U.S. borders are not open.

Biden said in an ABC News interview this week that his message to migrants was “don't leave your town or city or community.”

Learn more here.


Emergency sites for migrant children raising safety concerns

AP

McALLEN, Texas — A former camp for oil field workers that is now housing immigrant teenagers has emerged as a trouble spot in the Biden administration's response to growing numbers of children arriving at the border.

The U.S. government has stopped taking immigrant teenagers to the converted camp amid questions about the safety of emergency sites it is setting up in border states.

The Associated Press has learned that the converted camp has been plagued by multiple issues just five days after the Biden administration opened it amid a scramble to find space for immigrant children.

Learn more here.


Amid border surge, confusion reigns over Biden policies

AP

TIJUANA, Mexico — A new migrant camp in Tijuana, Mexico, shows how confusion has undercut the message from U.S. President Joe Biden that it's not the time to come to the United States.

Badly misinformed, some 1,500 migrants who set up tents across the border from San Diego harbor false hope that Biden will open entry briefly and without notice. Or they think he may announce a plan that will put them first in line to claim asylum, though he hasn’t said anything to support that theory.

Biden has promised to create "a humane asylum system” but hasn't detailed the new approach or said when it will be unveiled, creating an information void.

Learn more here.

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