The decision comes less than two weeks before the eviction moratorium was scheduled to end.
The governor announced that the ban on evictions would be extended to Oct. 31. In addition, there would be more funding for housing assistance programs.
Arizona’s 120-day order was due to end July 25. It was supposed to ensure people wouldn’t lose their homes if they got COVID-19 or lost their jobs during pandemic restrictions. But advocates argued it’s too early to end the ban because most of the government money set aside to help pay rents and mortgages still hasn’t been doled out.
The news comes as the daily number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona held steady for a second day, state health officials reported.
Arizona tallied another 3,259 confirmed cases, only two more cases than reported the previous day and below record days where the count reached almost 5,000. The latest number of additional deaths came out to 58. The number of hospitalizations, ICU bed occupancy and ventilator use for COVID-19 patients also changed little. Hospital capacity statewide was reported to be around 89%.
While some wonder if this could be a sign of a flattening of the curve, experts say it’s too soon to tell.
In total, Arizona has seen more than 134,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,492 related deaths. However, the number of cases could be far higher because many people have not been tested, and some can be infected without feeling sick.
Funeral homes reaching capacity
—The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office, which has already gotten four large portable storage coolers to handle future surges of coronavirus cases, has ordered another 10 coolers, which are expected to arrive by the end of next week.
The agency’s regular morgue storage was 63% full Thursday. Officials say none of the portable coolers — described as wheel-less storage containers with refrigeration units — have yet to be put into operation. With the 14 coolers, the county will be able to handle another 293 bodies.
Marcy Flanagan, executive director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said many funeral homes in the county are at maximum capacity and unable to accept additional bodies.
While about 100 of the county’s 1,311 deaths have been handled by the medical examiner’s office, the agency is still seeing an annual surge in heat-related deaths and an increase in the overall number of deaths, which officials have been unable to explain, officials said.
Robert Rowley, director of the Maricopa County Emergency Management Department, said the county has been planning for the possibility to accept bodies in case hospitals run out of storage space, adding though that such an arrangement isn’t currently needed.
“If there is a hiccup anywhere along in the process, we are planning on what we can do to fill in those gaps and make sure everything is taken care of,” Rowley said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.