/ Modified feb 22, 2021 9:17 p.m.

News roundup: UA identifies student killed on campus, COVID testing down in Pima County

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Feb. 22.

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 809,474 | Deaths 15,502

On Monday, Feb. 22, Arizona reported 1,507 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. Three deaths formerly attributed to COVID-19 were found to be duplicates, the Associated Press reports.

University of Arizona IDs student killed over the weekend


Forrest Keys, a sophomore member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity was shot and killed Saturday night on the campus of the University of Arizona, according to UA officials.

The shooting took place at the Cherry Avenue Garage next to the McKale Center.

Keys was walking with a group of friends near the garage when there was “a verbal altercation” between the victim and a group of individuals in a red Cadillac, according to UA Police Chief Brian Seastone.

Learn more here.

COVID-19 testing drops in AZ as cases decrease


In the first days of January, more than 30,000 people a day were receiving COVID-19 tests in Arizona. That number is now down to half of that most days, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“As we’re seeing more cases a lot more people are seeking testing and as we tend to go down in cases people tend to drop off for testing,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director, Arizona Department of Health Services.

Christ said people need to keep up with testing. One reason health officials want testing to continue is the results let them know the status of the virus in the community and how they can mitigate the spread.

Learn more here.

Arizona reports 1,507 new COVID-19 cases, but no deaths


PHOENIX — Arizona health officials are reporting 1,507 new COVID-19 cases but no additional deaths.

The latest numbers released Monday increased the state’s pandemic totals to 809,474 cases and 15,502 known deaths. The death toll also went down by three as a result of finding duplicate records.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested. Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Hospitalizations continue to slide downward. As of Sunday, 1,590 people were hospitalized statewide for COVID-19. Of those patients, 478 were using ICU beds.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 27 new COVID-19 cases, 2 more deaths


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation officials have reported 27 new confirmed COVID-19 cases with two additional deaths.

The latest numbers released Sunday bring the total number of cases on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah to 29,535 since the pandemic began. There have been 1,144 reported deaths that were related to COVID-19.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez said even those who have been fully vaccinated need to continue taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus. The tribe has a nightly curfew in place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit the spread of the virus.

Learn more here.

Arizona to open 4th state-run COVID-19 vaccination site


PHOENIX — Arizona is pressing on with plans to increase vaccinations and vaccine access, including the opening of its fourth state-run mass vaccination clinic.

The state Department of Health Services announced Monday it will transition a Maricopa County vaccination clinic at Chandler-Gilbert Community College into a state site.

The location was due to close at the end of this month once Dignity Health stopped operating it. Instead, it will reopen March 3 as another mass vaccination venue. Like the other state sites, it will offer the Pfizer vaccine.

Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey announced people enrolled in Arizona’s Medicaid program will have transportation costs to and from vaccination appointments covered.

Back To The Old Civics Test For Those Hoping To Become U.S. Citizens

Fronteras Desk

People hoping to become a U.S. citizen won’t have to take the elongated civics test crafted during the Trump administration. Unless they want to.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it's bringing back the 2008 version of the test on U.S. government and history. The 2020 version is to be phased out quickly.

Officials concluded that the testing process, content, development and rollout of the 2020 version may block people from pursuing citizenship.

The agency aims to make the naturalization process more accessible, and going back to the 2008 version is in line with President Biden’s order to build faith in the legal immigration system.

To pass the 2008 version, immigrants have to correctly answer six of 10 questions that are drawn from a list of 100.

Experts: Texas-style grid failure unlikely in Arizona


PHOENIX — Electrical grid experts and utility officials say a widespread grid failure like the one that crippled Texas last week would be unlikely to occur in Arizona.

Experts say that even during times of prolonged heat Arizona utilities can draw power from the sprawling Western energy grid. Texas utilities are largely walled off from the rest of the nation to avoid federal regulations.

Officials from Arizona's two largest utilities point to last year's extremely hot summer as evidence that they can manage periods of prolonged heat. The state shattered temperature records last year with 14 days at or above 115 degrees and 53 at or above 110.

Learn more here.

Mexican Governors Pursue Plan To Purchase Vaccines On Their Own

Fronteras Desk

Governors in Mexico are moving forward on a plan to purchase vaccines for their states.

Sonora’s Gov. Claudia Pavlovich, who’s currently the head of the National Conference of Governors, recently announced the effort. The strategy would have to “complimentary and coordinated” with the federal government’s vaccine plan, she said.

Older residents of cities and medical professionals not inoculated in the first phase would be the priorities for any vaccines purchased, according to the governor.

Older residents of rural communities in Sonora and across the country were being vaccinated last week with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Front-line medical personnel also received their second dose of Pfizer’s but well after the recommended 21 days due to unexpected delays.

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