/ Modified mar 21, 2020 12:19 p.m.

COVID-19 emergency declarations, blood supply shortage, precautions at the Capitol

Plus, an environmental microbiologist explains how germs spread indoors.

More municipalities in Arizona joined the state and federal government in declaring emergencies due to COVID-19 this week. With every declaration come varying stipulations, all in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. As for the government’s approach so far, Arizona 360 got insight from former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who served under President George Bush during the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Mandates limiting public access to businesses and community centers are meant to prevent people from being exposed to the novel coronavirus. Arizona 360 learned more about how germs can rapidly spread in indoor environments from University of Arizona environmental microbiologist Charles Gerba.

As food banks anticipate a greater demand for their services, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona has taken steps to change how it distributes goods in an effort to mitigate person-to-person contact amid COVID-19 concerns. As Tony Paniagua reports, this week the food bank implemented drive-thru service so recipients no longer have to line up in close proximity.

With businesses and organizations closing or scaling back events because of COVID-19, fewer blood drives are taking place. In recent weeks, the American Red Cross has collected 150,000 blood units than normal with the cancellation of 4,500 blood drives across the country. Southern Arizona executive director Courtney Slanaker and Southern Arizona Board of Directors chairman Dan Cavanagh spoke about the need for donations in the state and discussed extra safety precautions the organization is taking to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus.

Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic hung over the Arizona Legislature this week where state lawmakers are taking their own precautions over the disease. That includes passing a so-called “skinny budget” and suspending the session for an undetermined amount of time. Lorraine Rivera learned more from Luige del Puerto, editor of the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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