April 8, 2021

News roundup: TMC vaccination site moves to Udall Park, fire in Dudleyville threatens homes

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 8.

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 846,900 | Deaths 17,055

On Thursday, April 8, Arizona reported 670 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 additional deaths.

TMC COVID-19 vaccination site moving to Udall Park


Tucson Medical Center is moving its outdoor COVID-19 vaccination clinic inside to the Morris K. Udall Center at Udall Park April 19 due to increasing summer temperatures.

According to a press release from Tucson Medical Center, the staff administered more than 100,000 doses over the first four months of the COVID-19 vaccination effort.

"TMC has been an invaluable partner since the start of the vaccination efforts in Pima County," said Pima County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen. "Moving their site indoors as temperatures rise will continue to best serve the community and all those workers and volunteers who have helped make their operations so efficient."

Learn more here.

Wildfire threatening structures in small Pinal County town


DUDLEYVILLE — Authorities say a wildfire that is threatening multiple structures has forced some evacuations in the small Pinal County town of Dudleyville. There’s no immediate word on how the fire started Thursday.

County Sheriff’s officials say some residents were told to evacuate while others have been put on stand-by alert.

Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management officials say the wildfire is burning thick tamarisk in the river bottom. They say air tankers are headed to the site with more firefighters with ground resources also on the way.

Dudleyville is a census-designated place with a population of about 1,000 located off Highway 77 about 60 miles north of Tucson.

Learn more here.

Vaccination site at Phoenix stadium moving inside ASU arena


PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services says its COVID-19 vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium will move indoors Monday as it relocates to Desert Financial Arena on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus.

The plan announced Thursday to relocate is the latest change in the state’s mass vaccination program to account for rising temperatures.

According to the department, people who already have second-dose appointments scheduled at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for Monday and later are being informed of the new location.

In another development, the state reported 670 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 32 more deaths.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 16 more COVID-19 cases, but no deaths


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 16 more confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths.

The latest figures bring the pandemic totals on the tribe’s reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, increased to 30,198 cases. The known death toll remains at 1,259.

On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation, which came from a test sample obtained in the Chinle service unit area. The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S.

Learn more here.

Abortion ban for genetic issues fails in Arizona Senate


PHOENIX — A sweeping abortion bill that would have made it a felony in Arizona for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy because the fetus has a genetic abnormality has failed in the state Senate.

Wednesday's 14-16 vote came after one Republican voiced concerns about juries having to make medical decisions about a physician’s decisions and joined Democrats in voting no.

Republican Sen. Tyler Pace said he opposes abortion and had worked with the GOP bill sponsor to address multiple issues he had with the legislation, but in the end could not support it.

Learn more here.

Governor appoints first woman to lead Arizona National Guard


PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey has appointed the first female leader of the Arizona National Guard.

Brig. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck took command Thursday of the 8,300 guard members and civilian employees of the state's emergency management agency, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

Muehlenbeck started her military career as an active duty judge advocate based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. She joined the Arizona National Guard after leaving active duty in 1997.

She replaces Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, who is retiring and considering a political career.

Learn more here.

Arizona ends license suspension for failure to pay fines


PHOENIX — Arizona will stop suspending driver’s licenses solely because someone doesn’t pay a fine.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Wednesday that outlaws the practice. Ducey says it doesn’t make sense to prevent people from getting to work, school and medical appointments because they can’t afford to pay fines.

The measure also gives judges authority to lower traffic fines for people who can't afford to pay them, excluding drunken driving penalties. Drivers are still responsible for their fines, but courts will have to collect in other ways.

Ducey's office says there are currently 31,000 Arizona driver’s licenses suspended solely for failure to pay.

Learn more here.

LGBTQ Group Asks Sonoran Legislature To Reconsider Marriage Equality Reform

Fronteras Desk

Members of an LGBTQ coalition in neighboring Sonora, Mexico, are asking legislators to reconsider a reform measure that would eliminate barriers to marriage equality in the state.

Last year, a joint committee in the Sonoran Legislature failed by one vote to pass a marriage equality reform that would strike language barring same-sex marriage from the state’s civil code.

Now, the group Coalición Mexicana LGBTTTIQ+ Sonora is asking legislators to take up the reform again — this time guided by experts on the issue.

Learn more here.

Jaguar Cub Captured In Photos, Video On Northern Jaguar Reserve In Sonora

Fronteras Desk

The Northern Jaguar Reserve in neighboring Sonora, Mexico, announced some good news this week: photos and video of a jaguar cub and its mother were captured in the protected area about 130 miles south of the Arizona-Mexico border.

Ángel, as the nearly year-old cub has been dubbed, was spotted on motion-triggered cameras on the reserve several times starting last October, always with its mother, Libélula, the oldest known female in the region who has been showing up in photos on the reserve for almost nine years.

Biologist Miguel Gómez, who manages the Northern Jaguar Reserve, said the sighting means jaguars are thriving there, and the reserve is doing its job.

Learn more here.

Number of kids alone at border hits all-time high in March


WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities say they picked up nearly 19,000 children traveling alone across the Mexican border in March.

It's the largest monthly number ever recorded and a major test for President Joe Biden as he reverses many of his predecessor’s hardline immigration tactics.

A complex mix of policies and conditions in the United States and Central America is driving the increase.

It coincides with the Biden administration’s decision to exempt unaccompanied children from pandemic-related powers to immediately expel most people from the country without giving them an opportunity to seek asylum.

Learn more here.

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