person in protective medical gear in front of a stop sign AP Photo/Jens Meyer

The number of coronavirus cases in Arizona reached 1,413 Wednesday, as the total number of related deaths rose to 29, according to the state’s health department

Maricopa County saw 871 cases, while there were 217 in Pima, 102 in Navajo, 85 in Coconino, 65 in Pinal, 24 in Yavapai, 17 in Apache, 12 in Yuma, seven in Mohave, four in Cochise, three in Santa Cruz, two each in Graham and La Paz, and one each in Greenlee and Gila. 

The running total of tests administered for the week was up to 21,057, already surpassing last week’s total of 20,605. 

Statewide Town Hall to Air Thursday Night

TV and radio broadcasters in Arizona will all air a town hall Thursday at 6 p.m. with a panel of state officials and health experts to answer questions regarding COVID-19. 

The guests will include Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, and Arizona National Guard Major General Michael McGuire. 

The conversation will last an hour and be broadcast on more than 50 stations across the state. Viewers and listeners can submit questions for the panel in advance through the stations that will be airing the town hall. 

“Basic information about COVID-19 is everywhere, but our goal is to cut through the clutter, eliminate any misinformation and let everyone in Arizona be part of an important conversation with our state leaders,” Arizona Broadcasters Association President and CEO Chris Kline said in a press release. “Arizona broadcasters are coming together in these unprecedented times and we hope it’s a model for everyone in Arizona to do the same.”

Corrections Lieutenant Files Complaint

A lieutenant with the Arizona Department of Corrections has filed a whistleblower complaint saying that its director is not allowing staff to wear protective medical gear while at work, according to ABC 15

According the the complaint, several thousands of corrections officers come into contact with about 40,000 inmates each day and then go home. The lack of cautionary measures creates the potential of corrections officers carrying the coronavirus to their families and communities. 

In the complaint, Mark Hasz says the agency would not issue masks to staff or allow them to bring their own masks from home. He accused ADOC Director Mark Shinn of telling corrections officers during a town hall they may not wear masks while working because they would “scare the inmates.” 

“This reasoning is ridiculous and Director Shinn’s decision is putting the health of the staff, inmates, and the general public at increased risk,” Hasz wrote. 

He addressed the complaint to Ducey and Christ, saying he hopes Christ can explain to the corrections agency why officers’ lack of protective equipment is “a public health and safety issue.”