March 25, 2020 / Modified mar 25, 2020 2:18 p.m.

Arizona coronavirus news in brief, March 25

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona: Cases top 400, mayors question "essential services" list, and more.

Select regional coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak as of midday March 25. For more coverage, visit our resource page. This story may be updated.

Virus cases in Arizona top 400; Mohave County under order

March 25

PHOENIX (AP) — The number of cases of novel coronavirus in Arizona has topped 400, and another county has become subject to state-imposed restrictions and closings.

The state Department of Health Services confirmed on its website Wednesday that the number of cases reached 401. Meanwhile, Mohave County officials in northwestern Arizona announced that the county's first COVID-19 case triggers closings and restrictions ordered by Gov. Doug Ducey.

The governor's order requires closures of bars, theaters, indoor gyms and fitness clubs. It also prohibits on-site dining at restaurants but allows them to provide pickup, delivery and drive-thru service. The Mohave County Department of Public Health confirmed an adult in Lake Havasu City has the virus and is recovering at home.

Read more here.

$2 trillion virus rescue bill hits late snags in Senate

March 25

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leaders are racing to unravel last-minute snags in a $2 trillion economic rescue package to ease the financial pain of the coronavirus epidemic. The measure is the largest economic relief bill in history.

Both parties' leaders are pushing for quick passage so they can get the legislation to the House and freed up for the country. But several conservative Republican senators want late changes. They say the bill as written could provide an incentive for companies to lay off workers. They want the bill altered to ensure that employees don't earn more money if they're laid off than if they're working.

Read more here.

March 24

Tucson Council calls for 'shelter in place' order

(AZPM) — The Tucson City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ask Gov. Doug Ducey to issue a "shelter in place" order for non-essential workers in Arizona. Councilmember Steve Kozachik made the motion.

"At least 17 other states have already done this. These orders provide for continuity of essential functions and operations throughout the state ... while slowing the spread of [COVID-19]."

The vote followed a letter to the governor from Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and four other mayors from cities around the state saying his executive order should not have included golf courses and payday lenders in the definition of “essential services” that cannot be shut down.

Mayors ‘flabbergasted’ at list of services Ducey order would protect

March 24

PHOENIX (Cronkite News) – Arizona mayors Tuesday questioned Gov. Doug Ducey’s inclusion of golf courses, pawnshops, laundries and other businesses in the definition of “essential services” that local governments would be barred from closing in response to the coronavirus.

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans, who wrote to Ducey along with mayors from Tucson, Somerton, Tolleson and Winslow, said she understood why hospitals, groceries and gas stations were on the list, but that she and others were “flabbergasted” by some of the other choices.

Read more here.

Trump administration urged to free migrants as virus surges

March 25

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pressure is mounting on the Trump administration to release people from immigration detention facilities where at least one detainee has already tested positive for COVID-19.

Advocates fear tight quarters and overall conditions could cause rapid spread of the virus. ICE says it is screening new detainees and isolating people who show symptoms of the disease. But detainees and advocates say those measures are not enough, especially for people particularly at risk because of their age or pre-existing medical conditions.

Advocates have filed suits around the country, and a federal court in San Francisco has ordered one woman immediately released because of the outbreak.

Read more here.

'Imaginary clock': Governors reject Trump's virus timeline

March 24

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Governors across the nation are rejecting President Donald Trump's new accelerated timeline for reopening the U.S. economy, as they continued to impose more restrictions on travel and public life in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The dismissal of Trump's new timeframe — he said he believes the U.S. could reopen by mid-April — came from both Republicans and Democrats, from leaders struggling to manage hot spots of the outbreak and those still trying to mitigate a further spread.

Read more here.

Arizona jobless claims skyrocket

TEMPE (Cronkite News) – Nearly 30,000 Arizonans filed unemployment claims last week, more than eight times the average weekly rate of 3,500 claims before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, state officials said Tuesday.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security is “doing everything possible to get Arizonans benefits as soon as possible,” which includes hiring more workers, approving more hours and taking applications by phone, an agency spokesperson said.

Read more here.

Tucson coronavirus test kit case wasn't a burglary

March 24

(Fronteras Desk) — The case of nearly 20 missing COVID-19 test kits that seemed to be gone last week in Southern Arizona had a happy ending.

Tucson police say the man caught on surveillance camera taking the test kits was actually a third-party delivery driver for a company arranging to pick them up.

The tests were accidentally left out next to other deliveries that were slated to be taken to Sonora Quest Laboratories.

The perceived audacity of the presumed crime drew national coverage to Tucson and outrage.

Advice for parents at home with kids

March 25

As school closures enter the second week, many parents are both working from home and trying to continue some measure of education for their children.

Michael Sulkowski, an associate professor in the school psychology program at the University of Arizona, offered suggestions for ways parents can cope with this new normal. His first suggestion: Pause and ask your kids what they’ve heard about coronavirus. Read more here

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