June 23, 2020 / Modified jun 23, 2020 7:15 p.m.

Daily News Roundup: Pima County ICU beds dwindle, COVID-19 cases hit record, TPD in-custody death

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, June 23.

Arizona COVID-19 one-week snapshot, Sept. 18

This map tracks changes in reported COVID-19 numbers over a one-week period. Since last week, Arizona reported 5,419 new cases (3% increase), 163 more deaths (3% increase) and a statewide positive test rate of 6.3%. The state reported a daily average of 774 cases and 23 deaths. Choose a Layerlayer and click on a county to learn more.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: ADHS, county health departments, Census 2018 Quick Facts. *Test numbers are totals including diagnostic and serology tests. Positive test rate is calculated using reported case and test totals. Daily reports may not reflect recent data, the state says.

Arizonans woke up Tuesday, June 23, to yet another new daily record for daily COVID-19 cases, adding 3,591 for a cumulative total of 58,179, and without widespread testing, still not capturing the extent of the spread of the novel coronavirus. The state also reported 42 more deaths, bringing that total to 1,384. Hospitalizations continued their rise, and Pima County saw its number of ICU beds dwindle. Learn more in our top story.

Pima County nearly out of ICU beds Tuesday, health official says


Pima County was nearly out of intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, a health official said.

In response to a question about ICU capacity at a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning, Pima County Medical Director Dr. Francisco Garcia said: "It is not good. ... We have, essentially, approximately five usable ICU beds within the large hospitals in Pima County."

Garcia said the county was working to find more beds, and said some may be available at regional medical centers.

Learn more here.

Arizona sets COVID-19 records with case, treatment increases


PHOENIX — Arizona is reporting a new daily record of nearly 3,600 additional COVID-19 cases. The state also continued to set records for the number of people hospitalized, in intensive care and on ventilators because of the disease.

The state Department of Health Service reported 3,591 additional COVID-19 cases, breaking the latest record from last Friday by 345 cases. Tuesday’s case increase raised the state’s total to 58,179, while 42 additional deaths raised the death toll to 1,384. Arizona has emerged as a COVID-19 hot spot since Republican Gov. Doug Ducey lifted his stay-home orders in mid-May.

Death of person in Tucson police custody leads to canceled City Council meeting


A Tucson man died two months ago while in custody of the Tucson Police Department, according to information from local officials.

Details about the April 21 incident are still scarce, but Tucson Police officials said the three officers involved resigned, and if they had not done so they would have been fired.

Police and city officials said Tuesday they would not release details of the incident until the family saw the video and spoke with department officials.

The April incident came to light on Tuesday when the Tucson City Council meeting was suddenly canceled. The council was supposed to begin discussing funding for the police department. That meeting will not take place next week.

Learn more here.

President Trump visits border fence near San Luis


President Donald Trump was in Yuma County Tuesday where he visited a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence near San Luis ahead of an event in Phoenix.

Trump's visit was to commemorate more than 200 miles of fencing built.

Before visiting the fence, Trump met with local, state and federal officials at the Yuma Border Patrol Headquarters.

Learn more here.

Trump later in the day spoke to supporters at a rally in Phoenix.

Ducey wears Arizona flag mask during Trump's Phoenix rally

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey donned an Arizona flag mask as he joined President Donald Trump at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Ducey was one of only a handful of Trump supporters wearing a mask inside the Dream City Church. About 3,000 people were crowded inside to hear the president speak at a “Students for Trump” event.

Fans began lining up hours before they were allowed inside, most flouting the city’s order to wear masks in public to stop the spread of COVID-19. Some said they felt the threat of the virus was being overblown or that they were healthy enough to survive it.

Learn more here.

Tucson's Invisible Theatre bringing back in-person shows


Most live theater organizations in Tucson aren't planning to reopen until the fall at the earliest because of COVID-19 — except one. For The Balance Sheet, reporter Jake Steinberg interviewed Susan Claassen, managing artistic director at Invisible Theatre, which reopens Tuesday. The theater recently added three more shows after the first eight sold out.

Click here to find the interview.

Continuing unemployment claims skyrocket


Nearly 220,000 Arizona residents filed first-time unemployment claims last week. That is the largest single week this year.

The number includes 188,000 people who are self-employed. Until recently, the self-employed were ineligible for unemployment but a temporary change in federal law allowed them to file for the first time. In Arizona, the self-employed were first eligible for benefits during the week of May 16.

Regular unemployment claims in Arizona also increased to 30,000, an increase of 8,000 over the previous week.

To see the numbers, click here

Ex-official changing plea in Arkansas human trafficking case


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A former Arizona official accused of running an illegal adoption scheme in three states involving women from the Marshall Islands is changing his plea in Arkansas.

A federal judge on Tuesday set a change-of-plea hearing on Wednesday for Paul Petersen. Petersen is a Republican who served as Maricopa County's assessor for six years until his resignation in January. Petersen last week pleaded guilty to human smuggling and fraud charges in Arizona and Utah. He is accused of illegally paying women from the Pacific island nation to come to the United States to give up their babies in dozens of cases.

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