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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 15-17

(Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix was ranked as one of the sunniest cities, a top state health official provided additional options for getting the COVID-19 vaccine and hospitalizations related to coronavirus in the state are starting to recede after a holiday spike.

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

Phoenix deemed as No. 2 sunniest city in the nation

Phoenix was deemed the No. 2 sunniest city in the U.S. by national moving company on Wednesday.

Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it was found that the Arizona capital sees an annual of 211 sunny days a year, or 57.81%.

Yuma took the cake with a whopping 242 annual days of sunshine, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the year (66.3%), while Tucson’s 193 sunny days (52.88%) landed at the No. 6 spot.

Other Arizona cities to make the top 50 were Winslow at No. 12 with 177 days of sunshine (48.49%), while Flagstaff came in at No. 20 with its 162 annual sunny days (44.38%).

Christ says it’s possible to receive COVID vaccine without appointment

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said in a press conference on Friday that the clinical team at vaccination sites are tasked with making the decision to vaccinate somebody who is in the car with a person who does have an appointment.

Aspects that go into that decision include the number of no shows on a given day and if the person in the vehicle is a caretaker of the individual scheduled for the shot, saying that person could still put others at risk.

People in the car could also receive the shot if they had an appointment but were not scheduled for that day as long as there is enough staff and the vaccine is available.

“They are making those clinical judgments on a case by case basis to make sure that we are getting as many vaccines, that none are being wasted and that we are trying to be as customer service-friendly as possible,” Christ said.

Arizona reports 6,981 new COVID-19 cases, 18 more deaths

Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 6,981 new coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state’s documented totals to 673,882 COVID-19 infections and 11,266 fatalities.

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have started receding after spiking to record levels earlier this week.

The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients declined for the fifth consecutive day to 4,773 on Saturday, the fewest since Jan. 4. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients fell by 26 to 1,118.

Statewide, suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients took up 55% of all inpatient beds and 62% of all ICU beds on Saturday, both down from the previous day.

Used car dealer loses Mesa business, $110K over fraud violations

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has barred a salesman from selling cars after allegedly changing the mileage on at least two dozen vehicles.

Pacific Auto Sales owner Santiago Montelon duped the customers between April 2014 and December 2017.

The state also accused Montelon of including “impermissble” late fees, ignoring the used car lemon law and failure to disclose finance terms.

Customers who were affected by the business practice will be awarded $30,000 in restitution and the state will collect $80,000 in civil penalties, prosecutors said.

Albertsons, Safeway to hold job fair at all Arizona store locations

Albertsons and Safeway will be hosting a job fair Wednesday at all store locations across Arizona from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the stores announced in a press release.

The two grocery store chains are looking to fill in-store associate positions in a wide variety of departments including deli, meat, bakery, produce and fuel stations, as well as customer service and cashier positions.

Interested applicants can interview on-site with an HR representative and are encouraged to bring their resumes.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit

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