March 12, 2020 / Modified mar 12, 2020 2:59 p.m.

Arizona coronavirus news, March 12

Phoenix presidential debate switched to DC, polling places moved, and more AP headlines.

360 phoenix skyline Traffic in Phoenix with the city's downtown skyline in the distance.
AZPM Staff

For more coverage and resources, visit our coronavirus resources page.


Dem debate shifts from Phoenix to DC due to virus concerns

WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is moving Sunday's presidential debate from Arizona to Washington because of concerns about coronavirus.

The party had already announced that the debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would be held without a live audience. Now the location is changing due to concerns about cross-country travel.

In addition, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos no longer will moderate the debate because he was in proximity to a person who was in direct contact with another individual who tested positive for the virus. The DNC says Ramos is not symptomatic. The debate will be the first one-on-one contest between Biden and Sanders.


5 Phoenix-area polling places moved because of coronavirus

PHOENIX — Phoenix-area election officials are moving five polling places in next week's Arizona presidential primary from senior living facilities to other locations to protect vulnerable residents from potential exposure to the new coronavirus.

A Maricopa County official said Wednesday that postcards are being mailed to 3,152 voters to notify them of their new voting location. The elections department has also updated its website. The county says all polling locations will have supplies to keep them clean and disinfected. Poll workers will have guidance on how to clean equipment and frequently touched surfaces.


March Madness: Power 5 teams scrap tourneys; NCAAs in doubt

The biggest conferences in college sports all canceled their basketball tournaments because of the new coronavirus, putting the celebrated NCAA Tournament in doubt.

The Power 5 conferences are the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference. Within minutes of each other, they announced that the remainder of their tournaments would not be played. All were preparing to play games in large arenas, but with few people in the buildings.

Following the NCAA's lead on Wednesday, most college conferences announced that their basketball tournaments would be conducted with limited fan access. By Thursday, after the NBA suspended its season Wednesday night, several Division I conferences decided not to play at all.


Small Arizona district closes schools due to illness report

PIMA — Schools in a rural southeastern Arizona town were closed Thursday while health officials determine whether some students had been exposed to the coronavirus.

The Pima Unified School District announced Wednesday night that schools wold be closed due to a report that an unspecified number of elementary school students were possibly exposed to “”to an unknown illness." The statement said the closure Thursday was “”out of abundance of caution" while health officials determined whether the illness involved the coronavirus.

The district serves the town of Pima and two smaller communities in Graham County. The district's website says the district's has one high school, a junior high school and an elementary school and approximately 1,000 students.


Talking to kids about virus? Experts say be calm and honest

As more schools announce closures and cancel events, parents are having to decide how to talk to their children about the coronavirus.

Some parents say they're checking in daily, while others said they're limiting conversation out of concern it may make their children anxious. Child psychology experts' advice is to be reassuring, focus on proactive steps and do research to truthfully answer their questions.

One expert stresses that parents should not collude in their child's anxiety by refusing to go outside or by buying face masks. “And I don't need a sniffle to turn into them worrying about dying.”


Health emergency declared for Navajo Nation because of virus

WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation is now under a public health state of emergency declared by tribal President Jonathan Nez due to the growing spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Nez's office said in a statement announcing the declaration Wednesday that there were no confirmed cases on the the tribe's sprawling reservation that includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. But Nez said the declaration is a “proactive measure to help ensure the Navajo Nation’s preparedness and the health and well-being of the Navajo people."

Nez also imposed travel restrictions for all executive-branch employees. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. But for some, it can cause more severe illness.

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