/ Modified sep 17, 2020 4:54 p.m.

News roundup: High daily case count due to new reporting methods, apartments near UA to close pools, gyms

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Sept. 17.

Cases 211,660 | Deaths 5,409

On Thursday, Sept. 17, the state reported 1,753 new cases of COVID-19 and 38 additional deaths. Spiking case numbers at the University of Arizona have led to local leaders asking students and apartment owners to change their conduct.

Arizona cites data change, test bulge for case tally spike


PHOENIX — Arizona health officials on Thursday reported a large spike in additional COVID-19 cases, which they attributed largely to a change in the state’s counting method and to a surge in test results.

The Department of Health Services reported 1,753 additional daily cases. That's up from 685 cases reported Wednesday and smaller daily case numbers on other days during recent weeks. The department on Thursday also reported 38 deaths.

With the data reported Thursday, the state’s overall totals increased to 211,660 cases and 5,409 deaths. The one-day increase in cases was the state’s largest since largest since 3,212 on Aug. 1.

Learn more here.

Pima County directs apartment complexes near UA to close pools, gyms


The Pima County Department of Health issued an order closing all pools, gyms, recreation rooms and spas at apartment complexes near the university that house more than 10 people.

The order was issued in conjunction with a request from the county and university that students who live off-campus or in Greek houses shelter in place for two weeks.

The shelter-in-place request and closure order are limited to an area close to the university. It is bounded by Campbell Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Helen Street and 10th Street.

Earlier this month, COVID-19 cases began surging on the University of Arizona campus, with most of the cases coming from students who live off campus. University officials are pleading with those students to stop holding large parties and abide by mask and physical distancing guidelines.

President Nez: Navajo Nation Weekend Curfews Will Likely Continue Until Vaccine Available

Fronteras Desk

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said partial 32-hour weekend curfews will continue this month.

The curfews are in effect from Saturday at 9 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m.

Nez said until there is a vaccine, these lockdowns will likely continue. He also cautioned those who have said they will not get inoculated when one becomes available.

“If we’re not going to vaccines then you probably need to start getting used to wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands and staying home," said Nez.

Feminists In Sonora ‘Take Over’ Human Rights Commission Office

Fronteras Desk

Earlier this month, feminists in Mexico City stormed into the National Human Rights Commission and took control of the building in protest of continued violence against women in Mexico. On Monday, a group of women took over the commission’s office in Sonora.

The Sonoran Human Rights Commission office was already closed and no one was inside when a group of women symbolically took control of the building Monday. Wearing black masks, they covered the outside with red caution tape, spray paint and signs decrying violence against women and girls, and photographs of those who have been killed or disappeared.

A masked woman in a video posted to the group's Facebook page said feminists in Sonora will continue holding demonstrations until they see real change.

Learn more here.

Wife Of Sonoran Burn Victim Trying To Raise $50K To Get Husband To Tucson Hospital

Fronteras Desk

A Tucson woman is trying to raise funds to get her husband medical care in the United States after he was severely burned in a diesel truck explosion in neighboring Sonora, Mexico.

JoAnn Acosta, the wife’s aunt, said at Tucson's Banner University Medical Center have already accepted Salvador Valenzuela, a Mexican citizen, as a patient and could provide lifesaving medical treatment. If transported to Tucson, he would also be closer his family, including his nearly two-year-old daughter.

However, the family is struggling to scrape together tens-of-thousands of dollars to pay for transportation and hospital fees. They set up a GoFundMe page, and are hoping people on both sides of the border will help them raise the needed funds.

The cause of the explosion that caused Valenzuela's injuries is still under investigation.

Phoenix courthouse shooting suspect agrees to remain jailed


A man accused of opening fire earlier this week on a security officer outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix has agreed to remain jailed on assault and weapons charges.

James Lee Carr made his first court appearance Thursday since his arrest. Carr didn’t seek to be released, though he still has the option of doing so later in the case. His attorney, Dan Cooper, said Carr is having problems with hallucinations and should be examined by a psychiatrist.

Authorities say Carr struck the officer with one gunshot, but the officer was wearing a bulletproof vest. Carr hasn't yet entered a plea to the charges.

Learn more here.

Ducey, US Census head push for complete Arizona count


PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey and the head of the U.S. Census Bureau encouraged people living in Arizona to complete their census forms as statistics showed more than 10% still haven't done so.

With just 13 days remaining before the count ends, Arizona could lose as much as $500 million a year in federal Medicaid payments alone if those numbers don’t improve. Census Bureau statistics show more than 40 states have better participation.

Ducey and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said at a Thursday news conference that more than 400 additional census workers have been brought in since last week to help locate people who haven’t completed their census forms.

Learn more here.

Judge: Trump campaign can't join Navajo voting lawsuit


PHOENIX — A federal judge has denied a request by President Donald Trump’s campaign to argue against a lawsuit seeking to ensure mail ballots from the Navajo Nation are counted even if they arrive late.

The Trump campaign and Republican Party argued that they can’t count on Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to represent their interests in the case. But Judge Murray Snow ruled Wednesday that Trump, the GOP and Hobbs have all taken the same position against counting late-arriving ballots.

Arizona law requires ballots to be received by Election Day to count. Several members of the Navajo Nation say that will disenfranchise tribal voters because of slow mail service on the reservation.

Learn more here.

Phoenix to rename Robert E. Lee, Squaw Peak street names


PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council has voted to rename two streets many consider offensive. One is because of its demeaning reference to Native American women and the other because of its glorification of the Confederacy. The council voted Wednesday to rename Squaw Peak Drive and Robert E. Lee Street, but have yet to choose new names.

Robert E. Lee Street is named after the Confederate general who led the uprising against the United States in the Civil War. "Squaw” is a slur historically used to describe Native American women. Some argue the name changes are a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

Learn more here.

Two Arizona troopers fired upon; 1 of 2 suspects in custody


PHOENIX — Arizona Department of Public Safety officials say a teenage boy has been arrested and another suspect is being sought after two troopers were fired upon while sitting in an unmarked vehicle.

DPS officials say a silver passenger car pulled up to the unmarked vehicle around 9 a.m. Thursday and the driver honked the horn and a passenger allegedly fired several shots at the troopers with an assault rifle.

DPS says the two troopers weren’t injured and returned fire as the vehicle sped away from the scene. They say troopers took the 17-year-old passenger into custody and the driver of the suspect vehicle remains on the loose.

Learn more here.

Tribes' ancestral remains return home to American Southwest


FLAGSTAFF — Tribal leaders have reburied the remains of their ancestors that were taken more than a century ago from what's now a national park in Colorado. The remains of about 20 people along with funerary objects were unearthed during excavations by a Swedish researcher in 1891. They eventually became part of the collection of the National Museum of Finland. Tribes worked with the U.S. and Finland to have the items returned to the U.S. Southwest.

The remains and funerary objects were reburied over the weekend within Mesa Verde National Park, best known for the hundreds of stone dwellings built along the cliffs.

Learn more here.

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