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With 940 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 843,000 as of Friday, April 2, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 139 new cases today, has seen 112,846 of the state’s 843,132 confirmed cases.

With 12 new deaths reported this morning, a total of 16,989 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 2,355 deaths in Pima County, according to the April 2 report.

A total of 572 coronavirus patients were in the hospital as of April 1. That’s roughly 11% of the number hospitalized at the peak of the winter surge, which reached 5,082 on Jan. 11. The summer peak was 3,517, which was set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent lowest number of hospitalized COVID patients was 468, set on Sept. 27, 2020.

A total of 1,007 people visited emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on April 1. That number represents 43% of the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. That number had peaked during the summer wave at 2,008 on July 7, 2020; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28, 2020.

A total of 152 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on April 1, which roughly 13% of the record 1,183 ICU patients set on Jan. 11. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22, 2020.

TUSD announces prom, graduation ceremonies will happen this year

Tucson Unified School District announced Wednesday they have authorized senior prom and graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021.

Graduation ceremonies will be held outside each high school stadium and will follow safety protocols, including masks and physical distancing of 3 to 6 feet apart per CDC guidelines, Each graduate has a limit of four guests, each guest must have a physical ticket.

The graduation will also be on Livestream or Facebook Live, shared by each school.

TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said it's not mandatory, but officials are “strongly encouraging” all seniors to be fully vaccinated, or at least receive the first dose, if applicable, at least two weeks before the event.

Prom will be held outside at each high school with options of hosting prom in a large courtyard, stadium, or soccer field. Tickets will be sold on a pre-sale basis to ensure capacity limits.

Each school will determine whether to offer food, which would be prepackaged or provided by food trucks in a designated area with sanitized tables and handwashing stations located away from the main dance floor.

Trujillo said the activities can safely resume because of the increase in vaccine availability.

When TUSD staff was surveyed three weeks ago, more than half had been vaccinated, Trujillo said, with 4,600 out of 7,800 employees fully vaccinated or at least received their first dose. He estimates this number has probably increased since then. More info here.

Adults older than 16 eligible at state vaccine centers; Pima County expands eligibility to anyone with chronic medical condition

New vaccination appointments at state vaccine PODs will open today at 11 a.m.

You can register for your vaccine appointments at a state POD by visiting pod vaccine.azdhs.gov, and those who need assistance can call 1-844-542-8201.

All adults older than 16 are now eligible for appointments at state vaccination PODs.

Previously, vaccines were limited to people 55 and older as well as frontline workers, educators, first responders and healthcare workers.

As of last week, Pima County expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to anyone 55 and older and anyone older than 16 with at-risk circumstances.

Anyone living with a high-risk medical condition or disability, experiencing homelessness or living in a group setting, or receiving in-home or long-term care can get the vaccine. Some of the high-risk medical conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, heart conditions or compromised immunity.

Those in high-risk jobs will also be eligible.

Although the state has expanded eligibility to anyone over 16, Pima County's guidelines had to be limited, said Dr. Theresa Cullen, Health Department director.

“Our decisions are based on the current vaccination rates for 55 and up (which is at 42%), as well as our commitment to ensure ongoing access to vulnerable populations,” Cullen said last week. “We anticipate appointments will be filled quickly and as we move these groups, we look forward to being able to align with the state's recommendations within the next six weeks.”

Those who qualify in Pima County’s priority group of eligible vaccine recipients can register for a vaccine at www.pima.gov/covid19vaccineregistration or by calling 520-222-0119.

Many local pharmacies are now receiving vaccine doses. To find one near you, visit the ADHS website.

Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing

Pima County is continuing to offer a number of testing centers around town.

You’ll have a nasal swab test at the Kino Event Center (2805 E. Ajo Way) and the Udall Center (7200 E. Tanque Verde Road).

The center at the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road, involves a saliva test designed by ASU.

Schedule an appointment at these or other drive-thru or pop-up sites at pima.gov/covid19testing.

The University of Arizona’s antibody testing can determine if you have had COVID and now have antibodies. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.

—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Christina Duran, Jeff Gardner and Mike Truelsen

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