COVID-19 cases rise before Thanksgiving adding to school and hospital leaders' concerns - AZEdNews
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COVID-19 cases rise before Thanksgiving adding to school and hospital leaders’ concerns

Free Drive-thru COVID-19 Testing For All Mesa Public Schools Students, Families, Staff And Community Members Is Available 24 Hours A Day, Seven Days A Week At Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Avenue In Mesa, Shown Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Save Your Spot And Make An Appointment To Be Tested. [Tim Hacker/ Mesa Public Schools]

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Updated Nov. 25: As confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise school and health leaders shared messages to encourage Arizonans to take action to decrease the spread during Thanksgiving.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 310,850 today from 306,868 yesterday, and 6,524 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 196,849 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 37,518 in Pima County, 17,119 in Yuma County, 15,707 in Pinal County, 7,815 in Navajo County, 7,185 in Coconino County, 5,853 in Mohave County, 5.112 in Apache County, 4,751 in Yavapai County, 3,720 in Santa Cruz County, 3,350 in Cochise County, 2,847 in Gila County, 2,041 in Graham County, 789 in La Paz County and 194 in Greenlee County.

Interactive Graphic: (Hover over counties and boxes for more info)


Learn more about Indigenous people across the U.S. as part of National Native American Heritage Month, Expect More Arizona suggests.

After teaching students about how Native American‘s lands and tribal identities were stripped away, edutopia suggests teaching about Native American’s modern life with current resources.

Updated Nov. 24: New confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona continue to rise today as health and school leaders remain concerned about increased spread during Thanksgiving.

Tucson Unified School District has suspended all fall sports, winter sports practices and after-school performing arts rehearsals due to the surge in COVID-19 case, and will revisit the decision on Dec. 7.

“Please know that Tucson Unified is not the only district to take this action as all southern Arizona school districts have also canceled the remainder of their respective game schedules which leaves our schools without opponents to play. I want to thank all of the hard-working coaches, athletes, and supportive parents that worked so hard to make this shortened season possible,” Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said in a statement released this afternoon.

Keeping your Thanksgiving gathering small and holding it outside are just two recommendations from the Arizona Department of Health Services to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Click on the link below for more guidelines for holiday gatherings.

Indigenous people share the real story of the first Thanksgiving in The Arizona Republic.

Northern Arizona University shared these ideas to keep you and your family safe during Thanksgiving weekend.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 306,868 today from 302,324 yesterday, and 6,515 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 194,410 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 36.986 in Pima County, 16,932 in Yuma County, 15,613 in Pinal County, 7,756 in Navajo County, 7,114 in Coconino County, 5,808 in Mohave County, 5.036 in Apache County, 4,638 in Yavapai County, 3,664 in Santa Cruz County, 3,272 in Cochise County, 2,689 in Gila County, 2,008 in Graham County, 755 in La Paz County and 187 in Greenlee County.

Arizona State University students from Luminosity Lab has created a mask that doesn’t fog up glasses, keeps your face cool and more.

Sundown Mountain students collected items to help support families in need in the community.

The Amphi Foundation delivered pizza to every employee in the school district to thank them for their work during this pandemic.

Expect More Arizona shares these tips for working with your school district governing board.

Hamilton and Chandler high school students raised more than $3,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Washington Elementary School District thanked Staples for donating school supplies for students returning to distance learning.

Updated Nov. 23: New confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona continue to rise today as business leaders and state officials remain concerned about increased spread during the holidays.

Today, Greater Phoenix Leadership released this video and statement to encourage Arizonans to mask up be cautious about how to gather and celebrate Thanksgiving safely to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Video: Greater Phoenix Leadership Council’s Health Sector Task Force: choose safety this holiday

“We have lost more than 6,400 Arizonans since March, and may lose an additional 4,000 by the end of this year. We can’t afford to lose any more loved ones, children, grandparents, best-friends, coworkers or neighbors and certainly can’t ask for more from our already stretched healthcare providers,” Greater Phoenix Leadership said in a press release.

“With that, key Arizona leaders urge Arizonans to pause and carefully consider each other’s safety before gathering this Thanksgiving. It’s okay if your holidays look a little different this year. Remote gatherings are best. If you decide to gather, smaller and outdoor is better. Masks are a must,” Greater Phoenix Leadership said.

“Amid the chaos, there is still a lot to be thankful for this year. Let’s join together as a community to protect one another,  save lives, save jobs, and save the people we love. We want everyone near and dear to you to join you at the holiday table next year. Give thanks, not COVID-19. Stay safe and mask up,” Greater Phoenix Leadership said.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 over Thanksgiving, the Arizona Department of Health Services shared these guidelines for holiday gatherings.

Increasing COVID-19 cases have led to many high school football game cancellations, KOLD 13 News reports.

Yet, some families and students in Mesa and Gilbert and organizing their own winter formals after school events were canceled due to COVID-19, The Arizona Republic reports.

Santa Cruz Valley School District #35 shared the U.S. Center for Disease Control‘s recommendations for Thanksgiving celebrations.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 302,324 today from 299,665 yesterday, and 6,464 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 191,503 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 36.659 in Pima County, 16,826 in Yuma County, 15,345 in Pinal County, 7,654 in Navajo County, 6,988 in Coconino County, 5,643 in Mohave County, 4,921 in Apache County, 4,529 in Yavapai County, 3,624 in Santa Cruz County, 3,137 in Cochise County, 2,631 in Gila County, 1,933 in Graham County, 750 in La Paz County and 181 in Greenlee County.

Learn more about National Native American Heritage Month from Arizona State University‘s American Indian Policy Institute.

Peoria Arts Education shared students’ portraits they created in art classes.

See how teachers and librarians can help middle school readers enjoy more complex literature from the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Cartwright School District announced three of its schools received the PBIS in Arizona Achievement Award.

Two teachers from the North Slope of Alaska share their stories with Rural Schools Collaboration.

Tucson Unified reminds students to take part in these upcoming college access and career readiness opportunities.

Turkey Trot pickup was happening today at Cartwright School District campuses.

Florence Unified School District shares a smoothie recipe to celebrate National Eat a Cranberry Day.

The movement to provide relief from testing is growing during the pandemic, Education Week reports.

Arizona State University‘s President Dr. Michael Crow invites students to take part in Innovation Week 12/7.

Dysart Unified School District celebrated Sonoran Heights Elementary receiving their A+ School of Excellence banner.

Deer Valley Unified School District‘s kindergarteners enjoyed their latest STEM activities.

Updated Nov. 20: For the second day in a row, new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose by more than 4,000 as the state experiences a surge like the one this summer.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 over Thanksgiving, the Arizona Department of Health Services developed and shared these guidelines for holiday gatherings.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 291,696 today from 287,225 yesterday, and 6,427 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 185,580 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 34,985 in Pima County, 16,042 in Yuma County, 14,851 in Pinal County, 7,444 in Navajo County, 6,765 in Coconino County, 5,482 in Mohave County, 4,741 in Apache County, 4,095 in Yavapai County, 3,468in Santa Cruz County, 3,020 in Cochise County, 2,514 in Gila County, 1,815 in Graham County, 740 in La Paz County and 154 in Greenlee County.

Updated Nov. 18: Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ shared guidance for holiday gatherings during COVID-19, stressed the importance of wearing masks and other mitigation efforts and shared their plans for when Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccinations become available during a news conference today. Watch it below.

 Arizona National Guard Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire join them to share his groups’ plans as well.

“Arizona, like the rest of the nation, continues to see a concerning increase in cases, percent positivity, and COVID-19 patients in ICU and in-patient beds,” Dr. Christ.

“Last week, the week of Nov. 8th, all but two counties had a percent positivity above 10%, which meets the substantial spread benchmark and this week we are trending higher,” Dr. Christ said.

COVID-19 news conference live stream

Last week, CDC released updates to their mask guidance, Dr. Christ said.

“Importantly, we know now that masks provide more protection than previously thought,” Dr. Christ said. ‘The new studies recently show that wearing a mask can also protect you from the infectious droplets of other people.”

“I can’t stress this enough, we recommend that all Arizonans wear a mask in every setting, including public settings, public transportation, at indoor and outdoor events, gatherings and in private settings. Arizonans should wear a mask any time they will be around other people who do not in their household,” Dr. Christ said.

COVID-19 cases rise before Thanksgiving adding to school and hospital leaders' concerns Dr-Cara-Christ-11-18-1024x575
Dr. Cara Christ

“With Thanksgiving approaching we want all Arizonans to make plans that include, moving your celebrations outside, reducing the size of your gathering, wearing a mask if you are around people who do not live with you, staying socially distanced, washing your hands frequently and celebrating virtually with your loved ones if you are higher risk, elderly, sick or have been recently exposed to someone with COVID-19,” Dr. Christ said.

“These simple steps with help slow the spread and help reduce the risk of increased cases after the holiday,” Dr. Christ said.

Gov. Ducey thanked Dr. Christ, then said “It’s been 8 months since I issued a public health emergency, in the State of Arizona.”

The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency is not on the horizon, Gov. Ducey said.

“Arizona and the nation remain in a public health emergency and getting back to normal isn’t in the cards right now,” Gov. Ducey said.

“The number (of COVID-19) cases are rising here and all around the nation and as we’ve stated before they have been for several weeks,” Gov. Ducey said.

“You can’t simplify the impact that has had on so many Arizonans,” Gov. Ducey said. “When I say we just aren’t out of the woods quite yet, or that we need to redouble our efforts, I know that these are not easy asks and I don’t want to underestimate how bid an ask it is, but it is our ask today.”

“There are two extreme and distinct camps out there. One side wants to lock everything down. The other side thinks it’s all a hoax. Both are loud and vocal. Most of the public isn’t part of either camp, and by the way neither am I,” Gov. Ducey said. “Masks work. Please wear them. They are required nearly everywhere in Arizona outside your home – schools, restaurants, gyms, barbershops, stores, retail and more.”

COVID-19 cases rise before Thanksgiving adding to school and hospital leaders' concerns Gov-Ducey-11-18--1024x580
Gov. Doug Ducey

“We’ve known for a while that a mask protects others, but a new study from the Centers for Disease Control released last week shows confirms that they also protect you too,” Gov. Ducey said. “It’s just one more reason why you should wear a mask.”

Nearly 90 percent of the state is under a local mask mandate and restaurants and movie theaters are operating at 50% capacity and gyms are operating at 25% capacity and all establishments have enacted strict mitigation strategies, Gov. Ducey said.

Dr. Christ released guidelines for safely celebrating holidays today, and Gov. Ducey recommended that all people follow the guidelines.

Dr. Christ will work closely with Arizona’s Phoenix Sky Harbor, Tucson International and Mesa Gateway airports on messaging on COVID-19 mitigation strategies, where they can get testing and to launch testing sites at the airports with quick turnaround for travelers in an effort to ensure snowbirds and holiday travelers know their status and what steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones, Gov. Ducey said.

“I think children should be in school,” Gov. Ducey said. “I want parents to have options, and one of those options should be in-person learning.”

“Despite the best efforts of teachers and parents, no one can argue kids have already missed out on far too much learning due to this pandemic,” Gov. Ducey said.

“We want to keep our schools safe,” Gov. Ducey said. “They are already required to have mask policies, but Dr. Christ will be issuing an emergency measure to make sure schools statewide are implementing those policies on school grounds and on school buses,” Gov. Ducey said.

Gov. Ducey also released $25 million to hospitals to boost and support adequate staffing and reward with bonuses front-line medical workers for their hard work and dedication.

Moderna and Pfizer have announced vaccines that are 95% effective against COVID-19 in the past week.

“The news of these successful vaccines is very positive and optimistic,” Gov. Ducey said. “I want Arizona to be prepared, and I’ll committ to you that Arizona will be prepared. “

“Earlier this year, Dr. Christ assembled a vaccine task force and they have been actively working to ensure the effective distribution of the vaccines once they are available,” Gov. Ducey said.

“To support these efforts today I’m issuing an executive order extending the enhanced surveillance advisory to collect information on these vaccinations. This will ensure that all Arizonans who want the vaccine will receive the appropriate follow-up doses at the correct time,” Gov. Ducey said. “It will also allow the state to identify and support vulnerable populations and underserved communities.”

Yesterday, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego called on Gov. Ducey to issue a statewide mask order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until there is widespread distribution of a vaccine. But small busisness owners are concerned that another stay at home order would seriously hurt their bottom line.

This was Gov. Ducey’s first public news conference in more than two weeks. Gov. Ducey recently released short YouTube videos addressing COVID-19 and other topics like the one below.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 283,102 today from 279,896 yesterday, and 6,356 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 180,608 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 33,822 in Pima County, 15,788 in Yuma County, 14,154 in Pinal County, 7,295 in Navajo County, 6,537 in Coconino County, 5,271 in Mohave County, 4,564 in Apache County, 3,864 in Yavapai County, 3,363 in Santa Cruz County, 2,807 in Cochise County, 2,435 in Gila County, 1,745 in Graham County, 707 in La Paz County and 142 in Greenlee County.

Arizona Department of Education and March for Our Lives Arizona released today Arizona School Safety Task Force‘s final report and model school safety plan that take into account student’s voices and vision.

Click here to learn more.

A student jumped a school fence to help a Glendale High School social worker who had passed out from low blood sugar, KTAR 92.3 FM reports

Earlier coverage

Nov. 16: More schools return to online learning as COVID-19 cases rise

Nov. 2 – 13: $19 M grant would help schools with teacher development, stipends, reading & math curriculum, summer ed resources and more

Oct. 20 to Oct. 30: AZDHS amends COVID-19 school benchmarks

Oct. 7 – Oct. 19: What are teachers doing ahead of elections to support students afterwards

Aug. 25 – Sept. 8: Parents voice concern about online class size; school nurses prepare for students

Aug. 12 – Aug. 24: Students, teachers affected by Zoom outage

July 30 – Aug. 11: Parent organizes co-op for learners; group rallies for in-person school days after benchmarks release

July 13- July 30: Teachers prepare for digital learning and back to school

June 29 – July 12Video: Gov. says ‘Goal is to get children back to school when it’s safe;’ Schools lay out learning models

June 29: Video: Gov. delays in-person classes to Aug. 17 due to rise in COVID-19

June 15 – June 29: Video: Gov. pauses re-opening of some businesses as COVID-19 cases rise

June 24: Plan provides more funding, flexible instruction as schools re-open

May 26 – June 12: Increase in COVID-19 cases marks a new daily high

May 20 – 25: AZ Dept. of Ed releases COVID-19 guidance to schools for summer programs, back to school

May 11 – 19: Arizonans consider workplace safety, what back to school will look like amid COVID-19

April 26 – May 10: Stores re-open, COVID-19 testing blitz resumes on Saturday

April 8 – 25You can get tested now if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19

March 12 – April 7Coronavirus response: Cases rise; AZ Day of Giving