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Coronavirus in Arizona on June 17: Ducey allows Arizona cities to decide own face-covering requirement

There are 40,924 people with confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona and 1,239 coronavirus-related deaths, as of Wednesday morning.

PHOENIX — Editor's note: Here's the live blog for June 18.

The number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Arizona continues to rise. 

In an effort to track the changes, 12 News has started a daily live blog.

Here is the live blog for Wednesday, June 17.

Major updates: 

  • There are 40,924 people with confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona and 1,239 coronavirus-related deaths, as of Wednesday morning.  
  • The state does not record how many people have recovered.
  • Scroll down to see how many cases are in each ZIP code and additional information.

COVID-19 cases reported in Arizona on Wednesday

There are 40,924 people with confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona and 1,239 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the state's latest numbers.

That's up from 39,097 confirmed cases and 1,219 deaths on Tuesday.

One week ago, there were 28,296 cases across the state with 1,070 deaths.

EN ESPANOL: 17 de junio: Aquí lo que necesita saber sobre el brote del coronavirus en Arizona

Mask policies across the state

During a press conference, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Arizona cities will be allowed to determine face-covering policies on a city-by-city basis and how it will be enforced.

We made a list of cities that intend to enact a mask requirement.

RELATED: These Arizona mayors want a mask requirement in their city

New social distancing guidelines for restaurants

Gov. Ducey also added new guidelines for restaurants and other businesses that have reopened since the end of the state's stay-at-home order.

Some of the requirements include that restaurants and bars must maintain six feet between tables and clearly mark tables that are not in use. 

You can read the full list of mandates on restaurants here and for all businesses here.

Masks required on Phoenix Public Transit

People who use Phoenix Public Transit will be required to wear a face mask starting July 1. The Valley Metro Joint Board will make more announcements about the decision on Thursday.

Starting June 22, a limited supply of masks will be provided for riders at the following transit centers: Central Station on Central Avenue and Van Buren Street, Ed Pastor on Central Avenue and Broadway Road, Metrocenter at the Metrocenter Mall, and Sunnyslope on 3rd Street and Dunlap Avenue.

Sen. McSally says virus response is a partnership

In an interview with 12 News, Senator Martha McSally says the spike in Arizona cases is concerning, but the response is a partnership between the government, businesses and Arizonans.

On mandatory masks, McSally deferred to Governor Ducey.

"We're doing our role here in the Senate through the CARES Act and other legislation," McSally said. 

"The governor got elected to be the governor. So you'll have to ask him the questions on his decision making process, but we're all in this together."

Interview with Sen. Martha McSally

Sen. Martha McSally sits down with Mark Curtis to discuss several topics including COVID-19, wearing masks and police accountability.

Posted by 12 News on Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Arizona coronavirus hospitalizations, ER visits hit records

Arizona hospitals are treating a record number of coronavirus patients amid a surge of new cases. 

The state’s Health Services Department confirmed 1,827 new cases and 20 new deaths Wednesday. 

That brings the total confirmed cases to 40,924 and deaths to 1,239.  Hospitals were treating 1,582 patients on Tuesday, an increase of more than 500 from two weeks earlier. 

Emergency Room visits for patients with virus symptoms soared to a record of nearly 1,100. 

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is under increasing pressure to take steps like requiring masks to slow the increase.

This story is from the Associated Press. 

Record-high coronavirus cases reported Tuesday 

A record-high number of coronavirus cases was reported on Tuesday. 

The number of coronavirus cases reported -- 2,392 -- was reported on Tuesday, bumping the number of reported cases up to 39,097 with 1,219 coronavirus-related deaths as of Tuesday morning.  

Gov. Doug Ducey tweets support for wearing masks

How to get tested for the coronavirus in Arizona

Are you looking to get tested for coronavirus in Arizona?

If you have reason to believe you have contracted coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, this is what you should do.

RELATED: Here's everything you need to know about getting tested for the coronavirus in Arizona

Dutch Bros Tucson employee tests positive

A Dutch Bros Tucson employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The employee worked at the location at 5690 W Cortaro Farms Road.

They took a COVID-19 test on June 14 and got a positive COVID-19 result on June 16. They have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

The employee worked a morning shift on June 9 and an evening shift on June 10. 

The location will undergo a third-party deep clean before reopening. 

More information can be found here.

Navajo Nation cases reach 6,672 as leaders order more weekend curfews

The Navajo Department of Health reported 39 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation and eight new deaths. 

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 6,672.

The total number of deaths is 319 as of Tuesday. 

Reports from 11 health care facilities indicate that approximately 3,277 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with one health care facility report still pending. 

More than 45,400 people have been tested for COVID-19.

The Navajo Nation will have another 57-hour weekend lockdown beginning on Friday at 8:00 p.m. until Monday at 5:00 a.m. (MDT), and a travel advisory outside the Navajo Nation due to the increased of COVID-19 cases in areas surrounding the Navajo Nation. 

There will also be a second lockdown beginning on Friday, June 26, at 8:00 p.m. until Monday, June 29, at 5:00 a.m.

ASU modeling visually shows critical coronavirus data trends in Arizona

Arizona reported a record-high number of coronavirus cases in a single day on Tuesday when 2,392 new cases were reported. 

While the Arizona Department of Health Services coronavirus dashboard has been the main source for numbers and data in the state, there's another option available to view coronavirus data in Arizona, and nationally. 

Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute has it's own dashboard that shows critical COVID-19 trends in Arizona. In addition to the cumulative case numbers and cumulative deaths updated daily, ASU has been tracking other trends in Arizona and nationally.

RELATED: ASU modeling visually shows critical coronavirus data trends in Arizona

Kyrene School District students required to wear masks in class next school year

Students and faculty at the Kyrene School District will be required to wear masks in classrooms next school year, according to the superintendent.

The announcement comes as schools make plans for students to make a safe return to campus as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Superintendent Jan Vesely noted that the decision was “based on evidence and expertise, not on opinion or ideology.” Arizona has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases since the end of the state’s stay-at-home order.

The school district is also giving parents in-person, remote or hybrid options for their students when the 2020-21 school year begins.

Students who have difficulty breathing or can’t physically remove a mask on their own are exempt. And the masks aren’t required for outdoor activities if social distancing can be maintained.

RELATED: Kyrene School District students required to wear masks in class next school year

ACLU sues to protect Arizona county jail inmates from virus

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone and his office demanding the release of medically vulnerable inmates from the county’s jails. 

The lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of the nonprofit Puente Human Rights Movement and inmates with conditions like diabetes and lung disease comes as positive cases of the coronavirus among Maricopa County jail inmates have surged past the number at state prisons. 

A sheriff's office spokeswoman says the agency cannot comment on pending litigation. 

Officials say 386 of Maricopa County’s 4,400 inmates had tested positive as of Tuesday compared to 252 confirmed cases among nearly 41,000 Arizona prison inmates.

This story is from the Associated Press. 

Man dies from coronavirus weeks after returning to work at Arizona casino

Lina Washington has a straightforward explanation for why her father died.

“He returned to work because he had to,” Washington, a Sacramento TV sports anchor who grew up in the Valley, said in an interview.

“And because he returned to work he was exposed to coronavirus. And because he was exposed to coronavirus with his vulnerabilities, now he’s dead.”

Washington’s dad, Robert Edward Washington Jr., died here last week from a coronavirus-related illness. 

He died four weeks after returning to work as a security guard at the Gila River tribe’s Lone Butte casino near Chandler.

RELATED: Beloved father dies from coronavirus just weeks after returning to work at Arizona casino

Peoria Unified cancels rescheduled graduation ceremonies

The Peoria Unified School District canceled its rescheduled high school graduation ceremonies. 

The ceremonies were scheduled to take place on June 25, 26, and 27, mostly at State Farm Stadium.

Here is the letter in full:

Dear Graduates and Families:

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of our graduation ceremonies that were rescheduled to take place June 25, 26 and 27.  Given the increase in COVID-19 cases, we have determined it is not in the best interest of our students, staff, parents and community to proceed with these events.

As we shared in our recent survey communication, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has released guidance recommending that mass events, specifically graduations, do not take place at this time. We received this guidance at the beginning of June but were hopeful that our state would begin to see a decline in cases. As recently as this morning, we reached out to the county again to see if the guidance had changed and unfortunately, it has not.

Safety has always been our first priority and we do not feel we can in good conscience proceed with an event that may jeopardize the health and well-being of our graduates, families and staff.  We are devastated that we will not be able to celebrate our graduates for their achievements in the way we had originally planned and in the way that they deserve. We will remember the Class of 2020 fondly, and we know that they will continue to impact the world with a legacy beyond our current pandemic.

US expects insurers to cover COVID vaccine without copays

U.S. officials say they expect health insurance companies will cover vaccines for COVID-19 without charging copays, once those vaccines are developed and become available.                              

At a briefing for reporters Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official said the government has been talking with insurers about offering vaccines at no cost to patients. The industry earlier made a similar commitment to cover testing for the coronavirus without charging copays.

US extends border restrictions with Canada, Mexico to July 21

The United States has decided to extend its agreement with Mexico and Canada to keep their border closed to non-essential travel until July 21 during the coronavirus pandemic.                     

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday's agreement extends the closure by another 30 days. 

The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended in April and May. 

Arizona releases ZIP code locations of coronavirus cases, other data

The Arizona Department of Health Services has released expanded data points regarding coronavirus cases in the state. 

The AZDHS website now features the location of confirmed cases in Arizona by zip code. 

You can see the current ZIP code map below and can find yours by clicking around or searching for your ZIP code in the top right of the map.

More information on coronavirus cases from Wednesday

There are 40,924 people with confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona and 1,239 coronavirus-related deaths.

That's up from 39,097 confirmed cases and 1,219 deaths on Tuesday.

That's an increase of 1,827 new cases reported on Wednesday, a drastic jump from the 2,392 new cases reported on Tuesday.

There were 20 new deaths reported on Wednesday, a decrease from the 25 new deaths reported on Tuesday.

In total, 12,677 new tests were reported on Wednesday, up from the 10,184 tests that were reported on Tuesday.

There have been a total of 501,963‬‬‬ PCR and Serology tests reported to the state as of Wednesday. 

7.3% of those tests have been positive, an increase from Tuesday's 7.1%.

Here's a county breakdown:

  • Maricopa: 22,272
  • Pima: 4,385
  • Pinal: 1,793
  • Coconino: 1,410
  • Navajo: 2,771
  • Apache: 1,998
  • Mohave: 636
  • La Paz: 238
  • Yuma: 3,454
  • Graham: 56
  • Cochise: 248
  • Santa Cruz: 1,165
  • Yavapai: 387
  • Gila: 99
  • Greenlee: 12

Click on the links below to find more information from each county's health department:

COVID-19 is believed to be primarily spread through coughs or sneezes. 

It may be possible for the virus to spread by touching a surface or object with the virus and then a person touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main method of spread, the CDC says. 

You should consult your doctor if you traveled to an area currently affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. 

There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, so the best way to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases is to:

  • Wear face coverings while in public.
  • Practice social distancing while in public.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

You can text FACTS to 602-444-1212 to receive more information on the coronavirus and to ask questions.

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