two nurses testing coronavirus samples in a lab AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

The Arizona Department of Corrections has changed its policy on employee face masks, while the governor continues to issue executive orders. 

Arizona saw another jump in coronavirus cases Wednesday, increasing from the previous day by 151 to 2,726. The number of deaths also increased from 73 to 80. 

Additionally, women lead the number of positive cases at 52% compared to men at 48%, and those Arizonans between the ages of 20 to 44 years still have the highest numbers at 980.

Testing capacity continues to increase, with Walgreens announcing plans to open 15 drive-thru rapid-testing sites in seven states, including Arizona. The company has yet to announce how many locations will be set up in each state or a timeline for when they will open. 

As usual, however, patients will be required to register in advance before being tested. According to Walgreens, positive results will be available within about five minutes, while negative results will be available within 13 minutes. Comparatively, some people have had to wait days and even weeks for the results of tests taken at other sites. 

Two Inmates Test Positive for Coronavirus

Two inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Arizona Department of Corrections announced Tuesday evening. 

The agency said the first inmate has been hospitalized for unrelated symptoms since March 27. He reportedly received negative results after being tested twice but received a positive result after a third test. 

The second inmate tested positive at the Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility, where about 500 inmates receive treatment for substance abuse. 

The agency said 60 of its 42,000 inmates have been tested, with only those two returning positive. However, 10 of those tests are still pending. 

ADOC came under fire recently for reportedly not allowing correctional officers to wear protective face masks because Director David Shinn thought it would scare inmates. However, the agency reversed policy last week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear face masks when leaving home. 

The corrections agency also announced Tuesday that inmates have actually begun manufacturing face masks for staff as a part of the Arizona Correctional Industries Program. Inmates at Perryville, Lewis, and Douglas prisons are making enough face coverings so that each employee receives two. So far, they have made about 8,000 masks. 

Ducey Issues More Executive Orders

Gov. Doug Ducey issued four new executive orders Tuesday, including:

  • Increasing restrictions for out-of-state travelers. Anyone who comes to Arizona through an airport after visiting an area with high community spread must quarantine themselves for two weeks. 
  • Strengthening protections at nursing homes, residential care institutions, and other healthcare facilities by requiring staff to wear “appropriate” protective medical equipment, check employees’ temperatures at the door, and more. 
  • Expanding data gathering by requiring hospitals to include more information in their daily reports, including the number of ventilators and ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients and the estimated amount of protective medical equipment used by staff. 
  • Relaxing packaging laws by allowing restaurants to sell food and paper products not labeled for resale. 

The governor also announced $2 million in funding for Goodwill. The money is part of a $50 million aid package Ducey signed into law last month. The increased funding will allow 400 employees to go back to work, thus expanding the nonprofit’s ability to expand services at this time.