/ Modified sep 21, 2020 7:06 p.m.

Daily News Roundup: UA students punished for breaking coronavirus rules, review of deaths in Tucson police custody released

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, September 21

Cases 212,942 | Deaths 5,451

On Friday, Sept. 18, Arizona reported 1,281 new cases of COVID-19 and 42 additional deaths. Officials said that new case counting guidelines are to blame for the relatively high case numbers, according to the Associated Press.

UA students punished for breaking campus coronavirus rules


The University of Arizona and Pima County asked students, last week, to abide by a 14-day shelter in place request. On the first weekend of the request, not all students complied.

“I think it was Thursday night or Friday, a large party with over 300 attendees was discovered and dispersed,” said University of Arizona President Robert Robbins.

In addition to that party, the universities community action or CART team responded to more than a dozen other parties.

“The CART team responded to 17 properties last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Issuing ten red tags, 19 citations and initiating 25 code of conduct violations with the Dean of Students office,” said Robbins.

Last week was a bad one for the university when it came to cases of COVID-19. Nearly 900 students tested positive and the isolation dorm neared capacity.

“We were getting close to our 400,” said Robbins.

The isolation dorm had 417 beds but now the number available is being expanded. By the end of the week, it should reach 600, according to university officials.

Review of deaths in Tucson police custody leads to 53 recommendations for department


A panel of experts and community members convened by Tucson police to examine two in-custody deaths earlier this year has issued more than 50 recommendations to the department.

Insufficient training, a lack of Spanish-speaking 911 dispatchers and the use of spit socks to protect officers from COVID-19 were some of the 32 factors that contributed to the in-custody deaths of Damien Alvarado, 29, in March and Carlos Ingram-Lopez, 27, April, according to a report from the TPD-convened Sentinel Event Review Board released Friday.

The review group was led by two nationally recognized experts in criminal justice reform, but it wasn't meant to assign blame to individual officers. The group reviewed "system failures" — the tactics, policies and behaviors that led to the deaths — and issued 53 recommendations for how the department should do things differently going forward.

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said in an interview Thursday that the review differs from previous TPD use-of-force reviews, particularly in regard to the systemic nature of the review and the number of community members on the board.

"It is very significant and also very unique for policing," he said.

Among the recommendations in the 80-page report is that officers receive training to recognize risk factors for heart attack and excited delirium. Alvarado and Ingram-Lopez both died after being restrained in a highly agitated state while high on amphetamines.

UA researcher explores longer-lasting surface disinfectants


The novel coronavirus can spread when someone breathes, coughs, or sneezes onto chairs, tables and counter tops. The battle to stop people from spreading the coronavirus includes wiping down every surface it might come into contact with. Scientists are identifying anti-viral chemicals that can be applied and remain effective for days instead of hours.

U of A environmental scientist Luisa Ikner is investigating continuously active surface disinfectants. She warns they aren't meant to replace regular cleaning and sanitizing habits.

“Regular cleaning and disinfection practices should still be incorporated and continuously active disinfection should be a supplement to that," she says

Ikner reports some compounds are effective against COVID-19 for up to two days after application, while others have been found to work for two weeks or longer. She says new disinfectants are one way people around the world will be able to live with the coronavirus threat for months or even years to come.

Pima County prosecutors won't charge Tucson police officers


The Pima County Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue criminal charges against four Tucson police officers in connection with an in-custody death five months ago. In a 14-page letter released Monday, county prosecutors said the office’s review of the case showed “there is insufficient evidence to prove negligent or reckless homicide.”

Authorities say 27-year-old Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez died while in handcuffs following a 911 call from his grandmother that he allegedly was under the influence of drugs and acting strange. The county Office of the Medical Examiner said Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez’s cause of death was “sudden cardiac arrest in the setting of acute cocaine intoxication and physical restraint."

Pima County opening free flu shot clinic


Pima County is opening a semi-permanent, free flu shot clinic in partnership with Passport Health starting Monday in Tucson. The county health department says the clinic will provide flu shots to anyone over 4 years old, regardless of their insurance status.

County health officials say the vaccination will not only reduce your chance of getting the flu, it's a critical part of reducing the strain on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The clinic will be at Passport Health, at 22nd Street and Wilmot Road. Preregistration is requested, but not required.

Pima County also provides free flu shots at their East, North, and Theresa Lee Clinics, and convenient and affordable — often free — flu shots are available at most pharmacies, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, and community health centers. Vaccinations for children under 4 can be received at the other Health Department clinics, or through their primary care provider.

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