A sign warning against COVID-19 is seen in front of a closed restaurant Friday, March 27, 2020, in Phoenix. Arizona is ramping up its unemployment insurance operations as it sees an unprecedented flood of new claims as the COVID-19 coronavirus staggers industries that are key to the state's economy. Arizona's food service industry employs about 230,000 people and an estimated 80% have been furloughed or laid off. (AP Photo/Matt York) Virus Outbreak Arizona
A sign warning against COVID-19 is seen in front of a closed restaurant Friday, March 27, 2020, in Phoenix. Arizona is ramping up its unemployment insurance operations as it sees an unprecedented flood of new claims as the COVID-19 coronavirus staggers industries that are key to the state's economy. Arizona's food service industry employs about 230,000 people and an estimated 80% have been furloughed or laid off. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Plus, Gov. Ducey closes schools for the rest of the school year, and the Director of Arizona Department of Emergency Management resigns over the weekend.

All of Arizona’s counties now have cases of COVID-19. Greenlee County, with a population less than 10,000, was the last county to withstand the virus – until now. Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reported Monday morning that now all 15 counties have cases, with 1,157 statewide and 20 deaths resulting from the virus.

Among those infected in the state, residents, between the ages of 20 – 44, lead the number of cases at 426. The second group with the most cases are residents 65 years and older at 271. There are also 32 cases among young residents, age 5 – 19, and one case in a child less than one year old.

Additionally, men continue to lead the number of cases at 52% compared to women at 48%.

Over the weekend, health officials announced the sixth death in Pima County. In a press release, officials said a male between the age of 41 and 65 with underlying health conditions is the latest coronavirus victim.

On Sunday, ADHS also announced its new dashboard with increased data about the COVID-19 outbreak. According to a press release, reporting now includes:

  • The total number of cases by week. This data is based on when the specimen was collected from the patient. 
  • A breakdown of positive cases by age group.
  • The percentage of positive cases by gender.
  • The total number of tests conducted at the Arizona Public Health Lab (ASPHL) and commercial labs.  
  • A map of the number of tests conducted at the ASPHL and commercial labs by county.
  • The number of tests conducted by week.
  • A breakdown of tests conducted by age group.
  • The percentage of tests where was detected and non detected.

ADHS will continue to provide daily updates at 9 a.m. MST. For more information about Arizona’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit azhealth.gov/COVID19.

Arizona Schools Closed The Rest of The School Year

On Monday morning, Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced that Arizona schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.

A press release from the governor’s office stated the extension follows an announcement made from the White House last weekend extending physical distancing guidelines until April 30, 2020 and updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In a joint statement, Gov. Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman said:

“In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay. Our number one priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.”

On Friday, Gov. Ducey also signed legislation that will do the following:

  • Support schools during closures
  • Provide clarity and flexibility on statewide testing requirements and school letter grades
  • Give direction on make-up days
  • Require learning opportunities for students to continue
  • Ensure teachers and staff see no disruption in pay as a result of COVID-19

For more information on meals for kids, childcare, special education considerations, learning resources for families and educators, and more, visit azed.gov

Director of Arizona Department of Emergency Management Resigns

This weekend, Wendy Smith-Reeve, director of the Arizona Department Emergency Management (DEMA), resigned her post after almost 24 years of service. 

In her resignation letter, Smith-Reeve cited her role as “duplicative” after Ducey’s decision to hand control to ADHS rather than to the emergency management agency.

“It is with a heavy heart that I submit my resignation,” Smith-Reeve said in her letter, adding that the emergency management system has experienced significant evolution since the COVID-19 outbreak started. 

Smith-Reeve also noted that she has supported more than 100 emergencies in Arizona, 13 of which received federal declaration designation. She said, however, that her resignation is important to the “team” working tirelessly on the outbreak.

When asked more about her decision, Smith-Reeve told ABC15 her last day as a state employee is March 31, and after that she’ll have more to say about her surprise resignation.

Maj. General Michael T. McGuire, director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs and who accepted Smith-Reeve’s resignation, has designated Anthony Cox, the division of Emergency Management’s deputy director since 2017, as acting division director.

“We appreciate Deputy Director Smith-Reeve’s service. As Director of DEMA, I am grateful for Mr. Cox’s willingness to assume the director of the Division of Emergency Management position,” McGuire said in a press release. “I have full confidence and trust that Mr. Cox, along with the deep bench of talented and capable leaders on the DEMA team will not miss a beat as we drive on to serve the great state and citizens of Arizona.”

Smith-Reeve has been a major decision-maker in Arizona’s COVID-19 response so far, and worked closely with the Trump administration on the state’s response prior to her resignation.

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