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Phoenix mayor halts city-owned evictions amid coronavirus fears

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced on Sunday the halting of all financial evictions from city-owned housing as coronavirus concerns rise.

“This is the responsible thing to do to ensure people have access to shelter and sanitation,” the mayor said in a tweet. “The state should ensure this protection is extended to all Arizonans during this uncertain time.”

The decision to halt evictions comes after numerous entities around the state, including school districts and events, have been closed, postponed or adjusted due to the new virus.

On Sunday, Ariz. Gov. Doug Ducey closed all schools statewide, as education associations voiced their concerns of having students return to class, and not having a proper plan in place during the crisis.

The disruptions are also forcing Republicans who lead the Arizona Legislature to consider drastic steps that could include shutting down the 2020 session early.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone also announced changes to county jails, including the suspension of access to volunteer and supplemental services. According to a release by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the only access into jails will be for “court ordered interactions or legal obligations” only.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services website, 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Arizona. However, only two have been accounted for in Pima County despite reports of a third case on Sunday morning, which would presumably move Arizona’s total to 13.

ADHS says that 183 people have been tested in Arizona with 121 ruled coronavirus-free, 50 tests pending and 12 positive tests returned.

No deaths have been reported due to the virus so far in the state.

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