/ Modified nov 6, 2020 4:53 p.m.

News roundup: COVID cases rising as country gripped by election, UA football game canceled

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Nov. 6.

Cases 254,764 | Deaths 6,109

On Friday, Nov. 6, Arizona reported 1,996 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 additional deaths. Yesterday, the state reported 2,135 new cases, the highest daily number since August, according to the Associated Press.

This article does not include election coverage. For that, visit news.azpm.org or our live results page.

Arizona reports nearly 2,000 COVID-19 cases, 22 deaths


PHOENIX — Arizona on Friday reported nearly 2,000 additional known COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus outbreak continued to intensify. The Department of Health Services reported 1,996 additional cases with 22 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 254,764 cases and 6,109 deaths.

Arizona was a national hot spot in June and July. But conditions improved in August and most of September before cases and hospitalizations began to gradually increase, a trend that continued throughout October and into November.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations remain far below peak summer levels but topped 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time since late August. They stood at 1,082 as of Thursday.

Learn more here.

'We are worried': Pima County health director warns of rise in COVID-19


Pima County's health director says we are headed for a new surge of coronavirus cases if people aren't careful.

Doctor Theresa Cullen didn't mince words in a video issued Wednesday. "We are worried," she said.

Cullen says the third week of October saw over 900 new cases in the county, and figures for the final week of the month might go even higher. "I will not be surprised if that week, which is the week that ended Halloween, goes to a hundred cases per hundred thousand. Remember that puts us in the red — significant transmission," she said.

Learn more here.

Missing and murdered Indigenous women study committee releases recommendations


The final report from an Arizona legislative study committee on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls lays out a path for lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and those serving the victims of these crimes to better understand the extent of the crisis across Arizona.

When Arizona Rep. Jennifer Jermaine introduced the bill in early 2019 the latest data reported Arizona had 54 MMIWG cases in urban areas from 1943 to 2018. Across the United States, there were 5,712 known cases in that time frame, but only 116 were in the Department of Justice's database. That lack of data spurred a grassroots movement that propelled the passage of the law that created Arizona's study committee and now a list of legislative, data and law enforcement recommendations. The committee continues to reiterate that their recommendations are just the beginning.

More here.

Navajo Nation shifts to curfews to decrease travel, exposure to COVID-19


As COVID-19 cases rise across the Navajo Nation, the tribal government has decided to switch from weekend lockdowns to a curfew system for the first two weekends in November as an effort to curb COVID-19 cases.

Several Navajo communities that lie in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico are experiencing "uncontrolled community spread of COVID-19," according to the public health order and press releases. The Navajo Department of Health reported 72 new coronavirus cases and two deaths Tuesday and 131 new cases Wednesday.

Over the last several months those living in the Navajo Nation have experienced some form of lockdown or curfew on the weekends, recently the nation has enforced a streak of 56-hour weekend lockdowns with all stores closed.

Learn more here.

Arizona-Utah canceled, Pac-12 down to 4 games to open season


The season opener scheduled for Saturday between Utah and Arizona in Salt Lake City was canceled following a request from the Utes due to what the Pac-12 said were a number of COVID-19 cases among Utah players.

The cancellation is the second in two days for the Pac-12, which is just preparing to kick off a seven-game football season after watching while other conferences began playing in recent weeks. The game between Washington and California was also canceled.

Learn more here.

Recent unemployment claims rise


Arizona’s weekly unemployment rate jumped by nearly 32,000 claims last week. The majority of the new claims were for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is a federal program that allows the self-employed to claim unemployment benefits.

Arizona’s regular unemployment claims have stayed steady since mid-September recording fewer than 3,000 new claims a week. Overall unemployment in the state has been on a rollercoaster during October, with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims leading the changes each week.

Sabino Canyon shuttles resume


The Sabino Canyon shuttles are rolling again. The fleet of electric buses and shuttle vans is once again taking reservations for tours of the scenic canyon outside Tucson.

The tours were stopped during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring.

The tour operator is taking reservations at sabinocanyoncrawler.com.

The large electric buses used for the main Sabino Canyon tour are open air. The smaller shuttle buses that take riders to the Bear Canyon/Seven Falls Trailhead have had their windows removed.

Face masks are required for all passengers.

Sierra Vista reinstates mask mandate


Sierra Vista mayor Rick Mueller has reinstated the city's mask mandate, six weeks after dropping it.

Muller lifted the mask requirement when Cochise county had only 26 active cases of COVID-19. The county, like much of the country, has seen the disease surge recently. It's now recording 330 active cases, including 71 in the Sierra Vista area.

Mask requirements remain in many other places, including Pima County.

Legislative leader selects 4th member of redistricting panel


PHOENIX — A Democratic legislative leader on Thursday announced his selection of an Apache County man as the fourth appointment to the Arizona panel that will draw new congressional and legislative districts for use in elections in the coming decade.

Senate Minority Leader David Bradley’s selection for the Independent Redistricting Commission is Derrick Watchman. He heads an acquisition and development advisory firm based in Window Rock and is a former chief executive of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise.

The top House Republican and Democratic leaders, and the top Senate Republican leader previously made one appointment each to the commission, selecting from a state screening panel's nominees.

Learn more here.

U.S. Trade Representative Calls For Investigation Of Pepper, Strawberry Imports

Fronteras Desk

A top U.S. trade official is calling for an investigation of imported peppers and strawberries.

In an Election Day letter to the chair of the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer asked the body to “monitor and investigate imports of strawberries and bell peppers.”

Such an investigation could ultimately lead to tariffs. A similar investigation into imported blueberries was requested earlier this year.

More than $1.1 billion worth of peppers were imported into the United States in 2019, along with about $850 million worth of strawberries, according to federal data. Large majorities of both came from Mexico, and Nogales is one of the most important ports for peppers.

Learn more here.

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