/ Modified jan 5, 2021 5:37 p.m.

News roundup: AZ leads nation in new COVID infections, changes coming Pima County bail and deportation rules

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Jan. 5.

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 567,474 | Deaths 9,317

On Tuesday, Jan. 5, Arizona reported 5,932 new cases and 253 additional deaths. Tuesday’s death count is the highest for a single day for the state since the start of the pandemic, however officials say most of those deaths are due to a review of recent death certificates, the Associated Press reports.

New Pima County attorney drops cash bail, some deportations


The new Pima County attorney Laura Conover plans to reduce what she calls 'accidental' deportations resulting from minor criminal charges against non-citizens. The change is part of a list of "reforms" Conover is putting in place as she takes over the post this week.

On her first official day in office Monday, Conover released a list of planned reforms to the county's criminal prosecution system.

Among the changes she's pursuing is making sure line prosecutors are aware of the consequences of the charges they file against suspects, especially in cases where someone in the US on a visa could end up being deported because of a low-level criminal charge.

Conover also wants prosecutors to stop asking judges to set cash bail for non-violent suspects.

Learn more here.

Arizona reports record deaths, leads nation in new case rate


PHOENIX — Arizona has reported a record number of additional COVID-19 deaths along with new hospitalization highs as cases surge in the state with the fastest-growing rate of new infections.

The Department of Health Services on Tuesday reported 253 more deaths, exceeding the previously one-day record of 172 in July. The state also reported more than 5,900 additional COVID-19 cases, raising the state’s totals since the pandemic began to 567,474 cases and 9,317 deaths.

The department said the additional deaths included 215 newly attributed to COVID-19 through reviews of death certificates.

A record 4,789 COVID-19 patients occupied hospital beds Monday.

Learn more here.

Ducey faces criticism after son posts video of packed party


PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is facing criticism after his adult son posted a video on social media from a large party at which people were packed in a room without masks.

The footage contradicts the Republican governor’s pleas with the public to take “personal responsibility” for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Jack Ducey, who is in his early 20s, apparently posted the video to his Instagram account on Dec. 30. It first shows a large group dining indoors at a restaurant, then shows a packed party with dozens of maskless young adults dancing close together.

Jack Ducey told The Arizona Republic he’d made a mistake.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 110 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation health officials on Monday reported 110 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths.

The latest figures increased the tribe’s totals since the pandemic began to 23,841 cases and 822 known deaths. The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Also on Monday, the Navajo Department of Health on Monday identified 73 communities with uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 on the tribe’s vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Learn more here.

Sonora Says It's Ready To Receive Vaccine In First Months Of 2021

Fronteras Desk

A top Sonoran health official said recently that the state is ready to receive doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Health Secretary Enrique Clausen said that it will be available in the state sometime during the first months of 2021, according to a recent release. Frontline health workers will be prioritized in the first round. State authorities are also in contact with vaccine manufacturers in case the federal government authorizes individual states to acquire doses themselves.

“It’s very important to not lower the guard, and continue with safe distance and the use of facemasks,” said Dr. Alberto Monteverde, an Hermosillo physician who has treated COVID-19 patients since March.

Deaths have been steadily rising over the last several months, and a new daily death record of 56 was set on Dec. 31, according to data tracked by the University of Sonora.

Fast rollout of virus vaccine trials reveals tribal distrust


FLAGSTAFF — Few Native American tribes have signed up to participate in clinical trials as coronavirus vaccines are developed. The reasons range from suspicion and distrust tied to unethical practices of the past to the quick nature of the studies, which typically may need several layers of approval from tribes.

Researchers say that without participation from Native Americans, tribes won't know which vaccine might best be suited for their citizens.

About a handful of tribes have agreed to allow researchers to enroll their citizens in vaccine trials, including in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. They point to a need to slow the virus among a population that's been disproportionately affected.

Learn more here.

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