/ Modified jul 27, 2020 4:44 p.m.

Daily news roundup: No new coronavirus deaths reported by state, impact of census strong in AZ

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, July 25.

Cases 163,827 | Deaths 3,304 | Diagnostic tests 878,333.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 1,813 new cases of COVID-19, but no additional deaths. According to the Associated Press, delayed reports from hospitals may help explain the relatively low case and death counts.

Arizona reports 1,813 new coronavirus cases but no deaths


PHOENIX — Arizona heath officials report 1,813 new confirmed coronavirus cases and no additional deaths. That increases the state totals to 163,827 positive COVID-19 cases and 3,304 known deaths as of Monday. The figures may be lower because of a lag in reporting on the weekends. Still, it’s the second consecutive day that new daily virus cases have been under 2,000.

The Arizona Department of Health Services had reported 3,748 new cases and 144 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday. The 144 deaths were among the most reported in a single day in the state without death certificate matching.

Learn more here.

UA announces phased plan for bringing students back to campus


University of Arizona classes resume August 24, but only a few students will be on campus. Provost Liesl Folks wrote in an email Monday that so-called stage one classes will be limited to laboratories, performance, or medical subjects, where students must be physically present.

Later, when conditions allow, the university will go to stage two, with in-person classes for up to thirty students. Once those are proceeding without complications, Folks says the university will start to phase in larger classes.

Folks says the transition from each stage to the next will be guided by the progress of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysis shows how Trump's census change would impact Congress


Last week President Trump said he wouldn't include undocumented immigrants in the 2020 census count when determining how many congressional seats are allocated to each state. Critics have already filed a lawsuit challenging the move with a federal court in Washington, D.C.

But if it Trump's plan does move forward, a new analysis from Pew Research Center looks at how states would be impacted. Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the center, said Arizona’s population has grown enough since the 2010 census to gain a new seat anyway.

Pew estimates put 275,000 of the more than 7 million people in Arizona are undocumented. Pessel said that number has decreased from around 500,000 in the last decade and the estimated number of undocumented Arizonans isn't enough to tip the scales for the state if they are not counted.

Learn more here.

Nonprofit given grant to address local senior needs


The Pima Council on Aging recently received a grant from UnitedHealthcare to provide meals to isolated seniors. The $50,000 grant will help buy and deliver food to homebound seniors.

Across Arizona, UnitedHealthcare awarded just over $100,000 in grants. Another grant will help purchase blood pressure cuffs to be used during telehealth visits for pregnant and postpartum women on the Navajo Nation.

UnitedHealthcare has awarded almost $12 million nationwide. The company said in a press release the grants are a response to the pandemic and will help people struggling at this time of social distancing and isolation.

Pandemic threatens routine health habits


Staffers at the Mayo Clinic report that changes brought about by COVID-19 are causing people to complain about losing a sense of familiarity.

University of Arizona psychologist David Sbarra said the pandemic has knocked people out of their old routines, and they haven't been able to find a new one.

"You know, kids are coming and going, you don't know what's going to happen for them, you're told we need to be in virtual meetings at unusual times,” Sbarra said.

Sbarra said losing the aspect of a daily routine can lead to a lack of sleep for some people and changes in eating patterns for others. Sbarra notes that most adults need at least seven hours of sleep. Those who don't get enough rest run a higher risk of viral infection.

Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise to layoff nearly 1000 workers


Hundreds of people who had been on paid leave from their jobs with the Navajo Nation's gambling enterprise won't be paid after Monday. The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise had kept 1,180 people on the payroll since March when its casinos in New Mexico and Arizona shut down because of the coronavirus. The enterprise says it no longer can afford to support the full payroll. The enterprise's interim chief executive says 900 employees will be among the initial layoffs. Another 125 will be paid for another week.

The total number of people infected with COVID-19 on the vast reservation now stands above 8,890 with 439 known deaths as of Sunday night.

Learn more here.

Runoff from wildfire could damage many Pima County homes


Pima County authorities say many homes and businesses could face flood damage in the wake of the Bighorn Fire in the Tucson area. The lightning-caused wildfire started on June 5 and charred more than 187 square miles in and near the Santa Catalina Mountains before it was fully contained last Thursday.

The Arizona Daily reports that close to 1,000 homes and businesses lying along a number of washes could be flooded during a 100-year storm. That’s more than double the 431 landowners in those areas who got letters from the county in late June telling them their homes could be flooded during a big storm.

Learn more here.

Coronavirus challenging for crews fighting Arizona wildfires


PHOENIX — This year’s wildfire season has been extra challenging for firefighters with massive fires around Arizona, as well as changes in their routine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic firefighters had their own way of life including in-person morning briefings, respectful handshakes and community meals.

The Arizona Republic reports that now every meal is pre-packaged and firefighters have to eat 6 to 10 feet apart, crew members wave at each other instead of shaking hands and they attend virtual briefs on their smartphones or radios. One 33-year firefighting veteran described it as a radically different environment.

Learn more here.

A Year After Kayenta Mine Closure, Questions Surround Cleanup Process

Fronteras Desk

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva is asking why more hasn’t been done to clean up a coal mining site on the Navajo Nation.

The Kayenta Coal Mine ceased operations nearly a year ago, but Grijalva says the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has not issued any permits to remediate the site. Grijalva is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and says Navajo and Hopi leadership brought the issue to his attention. He said that it is the responsibility of companies to repair the damage they have done.

Grijalva says delays cause environmental risk. He’s asking for an official response by the end of the month to questions about management of the site.

Read Rep. Grijalva’s full statement here.

Regents voice support for Ducey’s bar closure

Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Board of Regents, which governs the state’s three public universities, filed legal paperwork to formally support Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to keep bars closed. The board joins numerous other supporters of the closures, including local chambers of commerce, health care organizations and Maricopa County.

Dozens of bar owners are challenging the constitutionality of the governor's decision to keep bars closed.

Learn more here.

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