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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Feb. 19-21

(Getty Images/Scott Olson)

PHOENIX– The Arizona Department of Revenue is warning residents of a tax form fraud scheme, COVID-19 metrics in Arizona continue to improve and Honeywell will be opening a facility in Chandler to produce personal protective equipment.

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

Arizona Department of Revenue warns of unemployment fraud tax form

The Arizona Department of Revenue is warning that residents are receiving an unexpected unemployment benefits tax form that’s likely due to a fraud scheme.

The department is asking those who received the Form 1099-G for unemployment benefits they didn’t apply for to reach out to the Arizona Department of Economic Security for a corrected form.

In Arizona and nationwide, some taxpayers have fallen victim to fraudsters stealing personal information who then file claims for unemployment for themselves.

Unemployment benefits are taxable, so government agencies send the form to people who received them so they can report the income on their tax returns.

Arizona reports 1,804 new COVID-19 cases, 25 more deaths Sunday

Arizona officials on Sunday reported 1,804 new coronavirus cases and 25 additional deaths from COVID-19.

The state’s updated documented totals were 807,967 coronavirus infections and 15,505 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

After spiking to record highs in the first part of January, case and hospitalization numbers have fallen to pre-Thanksgiving levels in Arizona.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients in the state’s hospitals decreased to 1,598 on Saturday, the fewest since Nov. 15. The number of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients declined to 501, the fewest since Nov. 22.

Of the 62,612 people tested so far this week, 9% received a positive result. The rate was 9% for 91,960 people tested last week, the lowest percent positivity since October.

Honeywell commits to long-term lease in Chandler to produce N95 masks

Honeywell will be opening a facility in Chandler to produce critical personal protective equipment, Mayor Kevin Hartke announced in his State of the City address Thursday.

The company has committed to a long-term lease on a more than 150,000-square-foot location in west Chandler, where it will produce N95 masks and other PPE for health care and government use.

Honeywell is expected to hire hundreds of workers for manufacturing at the location in the first year, with potential growth for more jobs in the next three years.

Quarterly report shows Republicans have most active voters in Arizona

The quarterly voter registration report released by the Arizona Secretary of State’s office on Thursday show the Republican Party still has the most active voters in the state.

Those whose voting information is up to date are considered active, while people are considered inactive if election mailings are returned undeliverable and an individual hasn’t submitted a registration form or updated their address.

The data covering the general election in November last year to January reveal 1.52 million active voters in Arizona identify as Republican, as opposed to 1.38 million who identify as Democrat.

Independent active voters are behind the Democratic Party by around 20,000 with 1.36 million while just over 38,400 active voters in the state identity as Libertarians.

Arizona projected to approach pre-pandemic job totals in spring 2022

Arizona job levels are expected to approach pre-pandemic levels about a year from now, according to a new forecast.

report released Thursday by the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Office of Economic Opportunity projects that the state will have 3,178,686 jobs by the second quarter of 2022.

Arizona had 3,193,740 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2019, the last full quarter before the coronavirus jolted economies across the globe.

The number fell to 3,180,619 the next quarter, which included the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With many businesses forced to close and consumers reticent to enter the ones that could stay open as the virus surged last spring and summer, the job count fell to 2,853,646 in the second quarter of 2020.

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