/ Modified apr 30, 2021 10:25 p.m.

News roundup: Look inside temporary migrant shelter, FEMA vaccine sites coming to Tucson

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, April 30.

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 862,497 | Deaths 17,324

On Friday, April 30, Arizona reported 844 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 additional deaths.

Temporary migrant shelters, immigration policies, 2020 census results

Arizona 360

Lorraine Rivera tours a recently completed tent facility operated by Border Patrol in Tucson that will provide temporary shelter for migrants admitted into the U.S. Tony Paniagua travels to Nogales, Sonora where he visits a shelter for families and women seeking asylum in the U.S.

Arizona 360 gets analysis on current migration trends and how they have been shaped by the policies of the Trump and Biden administrations.

The new head of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security sits down with Lorraine Rivera to discuss his priorities and what he sees as some of the biggest challenges to security facing the state.

Christopher Conover breaks down what early data from the 2020 Census reveals about growth in Arizona.Plus a discussion of what the results could mean for future elections.

Watch the full episode here.

FEMA vaccine sites coming to Pima County next week


The Federal Emergency Management Agency will finally roll out two mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Pima County, more than a month after the county and the agency announced their partnership. The delay was caused by the need for approval from the state of Arizona.

The two mobile clinics, staffed by more than 70 federal personnel, will set up at various sites around the county for three days at a time.

The first clinics will open on May 3rd at the Pima Community College West and Desert Vista campuses.

Upcoming sites include area casinos, libraries and parks. Pima County has a complete list on its website.

Learn more here.

In letter to Biden, Rep. Grijalva calls on end to border wall construction, revamp to asylum processes


Southern Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva sent a letter to President Joe Biden this week asking for a formal end to the border wall and a revamp of the process migrants go through to claim asylum.

Though his 60-day pause on construction ended last month, Biden has still not said what’s next for his predecessor’s border wall.

Grijalva said he and other southern Arizona stakeholders want the new administration to follow through on a promise to end construction for good, and to consider removing parts already built in sensitive areas like Quitobaquito Springs.

Learn more here.

TUSD makes plans to replace buses using federal aide


The Tucson Unified School District plans to use federal funding to retire 26 out-of-date school buses and bring in 57 new ones. That’s according to district superintendent Gabriel Trujillo.

“That will help us run more routes, put fewer students on each route, and will feature buses with state of the art, air conditioning systems that are MERV 13 rated,” Trujillo said.

MERV 13 is the highest rating for air filtration. Trujillo said the new buses will allow for greater social distancing

The district will receive over $70 million dollars in federal aide from the second round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds.

The TUSD governing board will vote on the ESSER plans in the coming weeks.

Auditors: Ex-sheriff may have violated laws with unworked OT


PHOENIX — Auditors say former Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada and a former top aide may have violated state laws on the use of public money and the solicitation of fraud when the sheriff’s office approved $196,000 in pay to dozens of employees for unworked overtime.

The Arizona Auditor General’s Office said Thursday that it submitted its report on the unworked overtime from a period of five years to Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office.

The office declined to comment on whether it was conducting a criminal investigation.

Estrada in an interview Thursday denied personally profiting from the practice and said he believed county officials didn’t adequately fund law enforcement.

Learn more here.

Arizona doctors, clinics can order vaccine starting Monday


PHOENIX — State health officials say numerous doctors' offices and clinics in Arizona will be able to directly obtain COVID-19 vaccines starting next week.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ announced Friday that eligible physicians and local health care providers will no longer have to rely on allocations from their county.

This means nearly 1,200 providers registered with the state can order up to 200 doses within a two-week period from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They will receive the Moderna vaccine because it has less complex storage requirements.

Currently, more than 2.9 million people, or around 40% of Arizona’s population, have received at least one vaccine dose.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 6 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths


WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported six new confirmed COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths.

Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,491 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah with 1,276 known deaths.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says more than half of the reservation’s adult population has been vaccinated. But people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation Wins At 9th Circuit In Water Rights Case

Fronteras Desk

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sent a nearly 20-year-old water rights lawsuit by the Navajo Nation back to a federal courtroom in Arizona, where the case has been thrown out twice before.

The Navajo Nation sued the federal government in 2003 for allegedly defaulting on a responsibility to protect enough Colorado River water for the tribe in Arizona.

The case was thrown out, revived by the 9th Circuit, and sent back to Arizona. Then a district judge dismissed it again. Their reason was only the Supreme Court could decide the case.

Learn more here.

Arizona farmers to bear brunt of cuts from Colorado River


FLAGSTAFF — Water officials in Arizona say they are prepared to lose about one-fifth of the water the state gets from the Colorado River in what could be the first mandated cut.

The federal government recently projected the first-ever shortage of river water that supplies millions of people in the U.S. West and Mexico. Arizona stands to lose more than any other state in the Colorado River basin.

The brunt of the cuts will be felt among farmers in central Arizona who already have been fallowing more land amid an ongoing drought and improving wells to pump groundwater.

The federal government will give its official projection for the river in mid-August.

Learn more here.

South African COVID-19 Variety Detected In Sonora

Fronteras Desk

A South African variant of COVID-19 was detected for the first time in Mexico this week — including one case in neighboring Sonora.

So far, Mexican officials say only three cases of the South African variant of the coronavirus have been reported in the country — all on the same day this week.

Mexico’s head epidemiologist José Luis Alomía said two cases were detected in Campeche, in southern Mexico. The third was detected in Sonora, though the patient lives in neighboring Baja California. All three were isolated to prevent the spread.

The South Africa, UK and Brazil coronavirus strains are all circulating in Mexico now, Alomía said, but that none of them are dominant so far.

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