Happy headlines are hard to come by these days. Coronavirus cases in the Valley and fear concerning the pandemic continue to rise, but there are silver linings – the community is coming together (virtually) in solidarity and local organizations, businesses and residents are doing the best they can to support each other. Our duty during these tough times is to keep you informed and updated, even if the news isn’t always uplifting. Here is a roundup of coronavirus-related news in our region.
Case Counts Top 600
On Friday, the total number of coronavirus cases in Arizona has reached 665. This is a 30 percent increase from Thursday’s stats. Health officials predict that numbers will continue to increase.
Death Toll Rises to 13
Coronavirus deaths continue to increase in Arizona. So far, 13 people have died due to the disease. Five of those deaths occurred in Maricopa County.
Governor Ducey Announces Rental Assistance Program
Renters facing financial challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic could benefit from a $5 million relief fund implemented by the Arizona Department of Housing. Governor Doug Ducey announced the introduction of the Rental Eviction Prevention Assistance Program, which will help households that have experienced a reduction in income because of COVID-19. The announcement follows Ducey’s executive order delaying evictions for 120 days.
Arizona Hospitals Struggle to Prepare for Surge in Coronavirus Cases
Local hospitals are scrambling to find room for 8,000 additional beds before coronavirus hospitalizations peak within the next few weeks. Medical institutions across the state are looking to convert conference rooms, surgery centers, churches, hotels and even sports fields into spaces for hospital beds to comply with an executive order issued by Governor Ducey. The order calls for bed capacities in Arizona to be increased by 50 percent by April 24.
Arizona Students Legally Allowed to Finish School Year at Home
Governor Ducey recently signed legislation that lets students in the state of Arizona finish the remainder of the school year from home if school closures continue until May.
U.S. House Passes Coronavirus Stimulus Package
On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $2 trillion relief package intended to help employees and corporations throughout the country deal with the financial fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, the House signed the stimulus bill, which is the largest emergency spending effort in the nation’s history.
Coronavirus Test Kit Shortage Could Put an End to Screenings in Arizona
On Thursday, Rep. Greg Stanton said that state officials have warned that the scarcity of test kits in Arizona could slow down or even put a halt to testing.