/ Modified nov 13, 2020 2:54 p.m.

News roundup: AZ Indigenous voters' priorities in election, new hospital coming to southeast Tucson

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Nov. 12.

Cases 266,562 | Deaths 6,240

On Thursday, Nov. 12, Arizona reported 1,399 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths. Rising case numbers lead to the Sunnyside Unified School District’s decision to switch to fully remote classes after Thanksgiving.

Voters in tribal lands 'reclaimed' Arizona in this election, advocate says


Indigenous voters made their voices heard throughout tribal lands in Arizona as voter precincts showed strong support for Democratic presidential and congressional candidates.

Across the country Indigenous Americans have been hit hard by the pandemic. Allie Young, the founder of Protect the Sacred, said over this election season voters continually told her COVID-19 and health care were issues spurring them to the polls.

Protect the Sacred is a grassroots initiative responding to the pandemic within the Navajo Nation that turned to voter and census education once the amount of new coronavirus cases started to flatten during the first wave.

Young said other priorities that inspired people to vote were the lack of running water or electricity in the Navajo Nation.

Learn more here.

TMC to build new hospital on Tucson's southeast side


Tucson Medical Center plans to break ground on a new hospital at the corner of Drexel and Houghton Roads on Tucson’s southeast side. The 60-bed facility is scheduled to open in 2023.

“The hospital will have a 24/7 emergency department, medical surgical units, telemetry and maternity beds,” said, Judy Rich, TMC Healthcare president and CEO.

TMC already operates an urgent care and medical offices at the location.

Rich said by 2025, hospital administrators expect 200,000 people to be living in the zip codes near the hospital.

Groundbreaking for the hospital starts next year.

Sunnyside school district to switch to remote learning after Thanksgiving

Arizona Daily Star

The Sunnyside Unified School District will switch to fully remote learning after the Thanksgiving break and remain that way until next semester.

The move is due to rising COVID-19 cases in Pima County and among members of the Sunnyside community. SUSD Superintendent Steven Holmes noted that there have not been any cases of transmission in district schools, rather the cases come from outside activities, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

The district began hybrid learning on Oct. 19.

Learn more here.

President-Elect Joe Biden Promises To Protect DACA Program With Executive Order

Fronteras Desk

President-elect Joe Biden has promised to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with an executive order, giving hope to its proponents.

For years, the Trump administration has sought to end DACA, which provides a legal path to residency for people brought to the U.S. as children.

“I see there’s a light at the end of a very dark tunnel that has been for the past four years. And so I believe that there’s hope, that this is finally an issue that’s going to be dealt with," immigration attorney Emilia Banuelos said.

But Banuelos says an executive order is not a solution, merely a Band-Aid. She suggests Congress pass protections for so-called "DREAMers." This way, she says, they can have a path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship.

Gradual Process Expected For Increasing Refugee Arrivals

Fronteras Desk

President-elect Joe Biden has promised to raise the ceiling on refugee resettlements in the United States to 125,000.

The process to take in more people forced to flee violence would be gradual, said Stanford Prescott, community engagement coordinator for the International Rescue Committee in Arizona.

“For us here in Phoenix, I think we’re still in a very good position to welcome refugees,” he said. This is due to existing local infrastructure, partnerships and bipartisan welcoming for refugees.

Arizona has traditionally ranked among the top destinations for people uprooted by violence. Most Arizona arrivals once came from countries blocked by the Trump administration.

In 2016, the majority of people starting over in Arizona came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Somalia and Iraq. The Congo is the only country still on this list, said Prescott.

Ducey urges caution in Arizona amid virus case surge


PHOENIX — With Arizona reporting a daily average of 1,900 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, Gov. Doug Ducey has urged residents to be careful amid the surging coronavirus outbreak.

Ducey in a video posted Tuesday urged people to wear face coverings, wash hands, practice social distancing and stay home when sick. He says gatherings of families and friends from outside immediate households “are no safer than going to the grocery store."

Ducey has not implemented a statewide masking requirement, and he announced no new prevention initiatives. He cited past efforts, including increasing testing and additional funding for hospitals.

Learn more here.

Ducey extends Arizona order for reporting data on COVID-19


PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the state's hospitals, testing labs and other health care facilities to keep reporting detailed COVID-19 information. The move was made so state officials can gauge the spread of the outbreak and availability of hospital beds and resources.

Ducey on Wednesday extended the reporting requirement for 60 days. The extension comes as the state experiences a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases amid increased testing positivity and a rising death toll.

The state on Thursday reported 1,399 more confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths. That boosted the state’s totals to 266,562 cases and 6,240 deaths.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 98 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation health officials have reported 98 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death.

The latest figures released Wednesday night bring the total number of known cases to 12,818 with 596 known deaths. Tribal health officials say 134,358 people have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic started and 7,828 have recovered.

The Navajo Nation Department of Health has warned residents of the “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19 in 34 communities on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajo Nation will have a 56-hour weekend curfew beginning Friday night. Tribal officials already have urged residents to wear face masks, practice social distancing and limit gatherings to less than five people.

Learn more here.

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