AP Photo/Seth Wenig AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The state’s number of coronavirus deaths held steady at 362, but cases increased to nearly 9,000.

Arizona saw no new coronavirus deaths Monday, the state health department reported, with the total holding steady at 362. This is the second time in a week that the number of deaths remained the same. 

However, the number of cases continued to rise. The state saw 279 new cases, coming to a total of 8,919.

Despite the continual increase in cases, retail stores begin limited operations in the state as a result of Gov. Doug Ducey’s modifications to the stay-at-home order he extended last week. Those include:

  • Monday: Retail stores can begin offering pickup service.
  • Friday: Retail stores can begin allowing customers in as long as they maintain social distancing and other safety protocols.
  • May 12: Ducey said this is when he hopes restaurant dining rooms can reopen with social distancing, but it depends on how cases are trending in the next couple of weeks.
  • May 15: The state could allow the stay-at-home order to expire and announce next steps for reopening depending on the data.

Although retail stores were given the green light to begin reopening, other businesses like salons, bars, and restaurant dining rooms weren’t so lucky. Ducey ordered those businesses to stay closed and did not provide a date for when they could begin taking customers again. 

RELATED: ‘We Have No Choice’: Business Owners Defy Ducey’s Order And Reopen

Some businesses defied this order and opened to the public this weekend, however. While a few received visits from police asking them to shut down, reportedly no arrests were made. Two Arizona sheriffs have gone so far as to say they won’t enforce the stay-at-home order.

But not everyone is happy about the loosening of the state’s restrictions. Health experts have said people going out into the public again will lead to an increased number of coronavirus cases and deaths.

And there continues to be issues with COVID-19 confirmed cases reporting.

For instance, Yavapai County saw a big spike in cases Monday, with 37 new cases being reported by the county since Sunday. However, ADHS reported only four new cases and a total of 93 in the county. The agency told the Copper Courier the discrepancy was due to a lag between when the county reports the numbers and when the state updates its website.

Notably, according to the county, 48 of its 128 cases are children ages 0-17. This is apparently tied to a cluster of cases identified at Mingus Mountain Academy, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls, in Prescott Valley. In a statement to the county, the center did not give a total number of confirmed cases, but officials said no one had showed severe symptoms.

The county said it was working with the academy to coordinate testing and supply medical gear to everyone on the campus.

RELATED: Arizona Begins Preparations to Reopen Public Schools For Next School Year

Arizona as a whole is also working to increase testing accessibility.

The state’s testing blitz that Ducey announced last week kicked off Saturday, with labs around the state hoping to test at least 20,000 people. The Arizona Department of Health Services told The Copper Courier the agency did not yet have all the data for a final tally of tests administered that day.

A total of 85,253 tests had been administered in the state as of Monday, with 4,134 tests administered on Sunday. Eight percent of all tests in the state have come back positive for coronavirus.

Anyone who missed Saturday’s testing event can check times and locations for this upcoming weekend’s event.

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