/ Modified apr 26, 2021 3:56 p.m.

News roundup: No new congressional seat for AZ, O’odham communities fight against border wall

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 26.

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 859,487 | Deaths 17,268

On Monday, April 26, Arizona reported 750 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths.


AZ population gain now enough for new congressional seat

AZPM

Arizona’s population increased by 11.6% between 2010 and 2020, but the new residents were not enough to get the state an additional seat in Congress.

Acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin said the number of seats each state has in congress is based on a formula.

“The average population size of each house district, based on the 2020 census, will be 761,169 people,” Jarmin said.

Most political observers expected that Arizona would pick up a tenth seat in Congress based on the increased population. The U.S. House has 435 fixed seats. In order for Arizona to have picked up a seat, the House would have to expand by five seats.


‘A safe haven, a home’

Arizona Illustrated

Contractors hired by the Department of Homeland Security finished walling off nearly 30 miles of borderland inside Organ Pipe last winter, part of more than 450 miles of wall the Trump administration installed by the time President Joe Biden took the helm this year.

Last year, Amber Ortega and others from Tohono O’odham communities began mounting a fight against wall construction when contractors began closing in on Quitobaquito Springs, a rare freshwater source and manmade pond along the border in Organ Pipe.

Watch the full story here


Independent federal labor agency issues new complaint against Asarco

AZPM

Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board issued its fourth complaint against Tucson copper producer Asarco last week.

The charges say Asarco bargained in bad faith, unilaterally changed working conditions and failed to reinstate workers who participated in the strike.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, if the strike is considered economic, as Asarco argues, it can replace employees who walked out. Asarco unions say it was based on unfair labor practices, allowing people to return to work.

The United Steelworkers union said it also filed more charges about the termination of members who returned and unilateral changes.

Learn more here.


Arizona reports 750 new COVID-19 cases but no new deaths

AP

Arizona is reporting 750 new confirmed COVID-19 cases but no new deaths.

The state Department of Health Services released its latest figures Monday, bringing its pandemic total number of cases to 859,487. The number of deaths remains 17,268.

The number of people hospitalized statewide due to the virus rose to 611. It’s the first time in April the number of hospitalizations has been above 600. The number of patients in the ICU remained steady compared to the last few days at 184.

More than 2.1 million people, or nearly 40% of Arizona’s population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Learn more here.


Navajo Nation reports 26 new COVID-19 cases, 10 more deaths

AP

WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation is reporting 26 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 additional deaths. Tribal health officials released figures combining new cases found over the weekend.

This brings the total number of virus-related deaths on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah to 1,273. More than 30,000 cases have been documented.

The Navajo Department of Health on Monday is expected to loosen some virus-driven restrictions on restaurants, parks, casinos and other public places.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says more than half of the reservation’s adult population has been vaccinated.

Learn more here.


Election conspiracies live on with audit by Arizona GOP

AP

PHOENIX — Months after former President Donald Trump’s defeat, legislative Republicans in Arizona are challenging the outcome as they embark on an unprecedented effort to audit the results in the state’s most populous county.

The state Senate used its subpoena power to take possession of all 2.1 million voted ballots in Maricopa County and the machines that counted them, along with hard drives full of data.

They’ve handed the materials over to Cyber Ninjas, a technology firm with no election experience run by a man who has shared unfounded allegations of election fraud.

The process is alarming election professionals who fear the auditors are not up to the complex task and will severely undermine faith in democracy.

Learn more here.


Firm recounting Arizona ballots wants methods kept secret

AP

PHOENIX — A contractor hired by Arizona’s state Senate to oversee the recount of 2.1 million ballots in the county that includes the metro Phoenix area wants a judge to keep its methods for ensuring ballot privacy secret.

The request came ahead of a hearing set for Tuesday.

A judge on Friday ordered the Senate and ballot recount contractor Cyber Ninjas to submit their policies and procedures for ensuring voter privacy and ballot secrecy so he could review them.

Cyber Ninjas filed the policies under seal Sunday and asked for the hearing to be closed to the media and to the public.

Learn more here.


Arizona health agency backs resumption of use of J&J vaccine

AP

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services is advising health care providers to resume use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine now that the federal government has lifted an 11-day pause following a safety review.

The state issued its recommendation Friday after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the benefits of the one-dose J&J shot outweigh a rare risk of blood clots.

The Arizona agency's director, Dr. Cara Christ, said the pause was due to “an abundance of caution" and she said state officials join federal officials in encouraging everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with any available vaccine authorized for emergency use, including the J&J vaccine.

Learn more here.


New temporary migrant facility operational in Yuma

AP

YUMA — U.S. Border Patrol has announced a new tent-like temporary migrant processing facility in Yuma, Arizona began operations earlier this week to house people seeking asylum in the U.S.

The Yuma Sun reported that the 90,000-square-foot structure, which was built in 20 days in a parking lot behind the Yuma Sector Headquarters building, can accommodate up to 500 people.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol spokesperson Vincent Dulesky said that with social distancing the facility can hold 250 people.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded a contract to Deployed Resources LLC in March to construct the facility for $25 million for the first four months of operation.

Learn more here.

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