Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 1-3
PHOENIX – Coronavirus cases hit a daily record, Arizona’s reservoirs are mostly full despite the dry summer and a Mesa restaurant is closed indefinitely after a New Year’s Eve fire.
Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.
Arizona health officials reported 17,234 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Sunday.
Sunday’s numbers bring the state’s documented totals to 556,384 COVID-19 infections and 9,061 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The total number of cases broke the daily record high. The previous high was 12,314 coronavirus cases on Dec. 8.
Coronavirus metrics in the state like confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients and ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients continue to reach or near pandemic highs.
After the hottest and driest summer in Arizona history followed by a dry and warm fall and early winter, the six reservoirs that supply water to metro Phoenix are mostly full.
The Salt River Projects’ reservoirs on the Salt and Verde river systems are 77% full, according to the water and power company’s daily data report this week.
Around this time last year, the chain of lakes were at 73% capacity.
The largest reservoir, Roosevelt Lake, is 81% full. Smaller sites Canyon and Saguaro lakes are closest to capacity at 96% and 93%.
The Hub Grill and Bar in Mesa is closed indefinitely after a fire on New Year’s Eve.
The fire broke out a few hours before midnight.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and found flames burning through a portion of the roof and smoke in the interior, according to authorities.
Nobody was hurt in the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The number of drug overdoses in Maricopa County in 2020 nearly doubled the numbers in 2019.
Countywide, 1,752 overdose deaths were reported in 2020 with another 550 under investigation. In 2019, 1,078 overdose deaths were reported in all.
Arizona Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Cheri Oz said the year-over-year increase can be traced to a number of causes.
Oz told KTAR News 92.3 FM that drugs like fentanyl are especially dangerous as they get people hooked and are deadly to the user in the long run.
She added that the current COVID-19 pandemic is playing a role in the drastic rise in drug overdose deaths for a number of reasons, including the lack of social interaction that many are having currently.
A resolution that has aimed to help prevent diabetes in the Navajo Nation since being passed in 2014 was unanimously reauthorized.
The Healthy Dine Nation Act of 2014, approved for continuation by the Navajo Nation Council on Dec. 23, implemented a 2% sales tax on unhealthy food and beverages.
One in three members of the Navajo Nation is diabetic or pre-diabetic, according to Partners in Health.
“This was a community-driven initiative several years ago, and now we are seeing the positive results,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement.
Eighty percent of revenue from the tax goes into community-based programs that promote healthy living including farming and vegetable gardens, greenhouses, farmers markets, food preparation classes, playgrounds, and sports and exercise equipment and spaces.
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