Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Nov. 27-29
PHOENIX — University researchers are pleading state health officials to take action amid rising coronavirus cases, the pandemic has highlighted the need for affordable housing in Arizona and a local gym was forced to close for violating coronavirus protocols.
Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.
Members of the University of Arizona’s COVID modeling team sent a letter to the Arizona Department of Health Services Friday urging the state to take action as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
The letter urged state leaders to take steps such as ordering a three-week stay-at-home order, implementing a statewide mask mandate, providing economic aid to small businesses and families and preventing evictions and foreclosures.
The team estimated that the coronavirus outbreak’s current surge will present Arizona with a hospital crisis that could snowball into a disaster.
Affordable housing has taken center stage as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause financial strains among Arizonans and the supply of homes to decrease.
Dennis Hoffman, Director of the L. William Sidman Research Institute at W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, explained during a virtual conference last week that the pandemic and the financial burdens have affected housing accessibility.
Those who work in food, entertainment and hospitality are some of the most effected. Due to low income, Hoffman claims it is harder for the group to qualify for home loans which in turn makes it harder to accumulate equality. That is also contributing to the growing wealth gap that exists among Americans.
Meanwhile, people who have been able to work from home, kept their job and as a result have saved large amounts money, which they’ve likely been able to invest into their home or new homes, driving up homes costs.
The Arizona Department of Health Services issued a Notice of Closure for Non-Compliance to a Scottsdale fitness center on Friday.
The notice said that Self Made Training had seven separate instances that they were cited for, according to an ADHS release.
It also claimed that owner Jeffrey Mahaffey did not complete the necessary attestation with ADHS that would have granted permission for the fitness center to remain open.
The company was instructed to close and remain closed until ADHS approves a “phased reopening process.”
Arizona Republicans have scheduled a meeting at a hotel in downtown Phoenix on Monday to discuss the Nov. 3 election and President Donald Trump’s defeat.
The event was billed as a “fact-finding hearing” featuring members of Trump’s legal team and members of the Arizona Legislature, but top leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature told The Associated Press that the planned gathering was not an official legislative event.
According to press release by state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro-Valley, the gathering is intended “to hear testimony and view evidence related to allegations of electoral compromise related to the 2020 election.”
A similar event was held Wednesday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 3,221 new coronavirus cases and 10 additional deaths.
That put the state’s documented totals at 325,995 COVID-19 infections and 6,634 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Statewide, 28% of all inpatient beds and 33% of all ICU beds were filled with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients on Saturday, levels last seen in early August. Overall, inpatient beds were 88% filled and ICU beds were 90% filled on Saturday.
Arizona’s weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, has reached its highest level in four months.
The positivity rate was 13% through 87,999 tests reported this week. It was 12% for 149,216 tests from last week.
The weekly rate peaked at 21% at the end of June and was down to 4% as recently as early October.