• The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona had topped 14,000 as of Monday, May 18, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Pima County had seen 1,825 of the state’s 14,170 confirmed cases. The coronavirus had killed 686 people statewide, including 157 in Pima County, according to the report. In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 7,340.
• Nationwide, nearly 1.5 million people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which had killed nearly 9,000 people in the United States as of Monday, May 18, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. The IHME model now predicts roughly 147,000 deaths in the United States by the beginning of August. The IHME model forecast of the most likely number of deaths in Arizona now forecasts 2,871 through Aug. 4, a slight drop from last week.
• Gov. Doug Ducey stay-home order expired last Friday, May 15. Ducey has said that retail stores, barber shops, salons, restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses are free to reopen although he encouraged Arizonans to be cautious and maintain social distance. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said she was concerned by Ducey’s easing of restrictions: “As eager as we all are to return to any sense of normalcy, I believe that the Governor is moving too quickly and that we should proceed methodically and cautiously to prevent a re-emergence that would be even more damaging to our economy in the long-run.”
• The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 along party lines last week to update health code regulations for restaurants and bars to reduce transmission of COVID-19, but three state lawmakers are asking the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to step in and force the county to rescind the rules. State Sen. Vince Leach and state Reps. Mark Finchem and Bret Roberts say that the county is exceeding its authority in creating the regulations and have asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich for an investigation. Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the county was on firm legal ground. Huckelberry added that the county had received feedback regarding the regulations that ranged from complaints that the county was doing too much to concerns that the county wasn’t doing enough. See story, Page 1.
• The towns of Marana and Oro Valley issued amendments to local emergency declarations last week to fall in line with Gov. Ducey’s update orders. Marana Mayor Ed Honea announced that local restaurants can temporarily expand their outdoor seating to provide for increased distance between customers, and the town opened several park amenities Friday, May 15. All basketball courts in public parks have reopened, but only for shooting practice. No games are allowed at this time. Marana also opened the skate park at Continental Ranch, dog parks, tennis courts, ramadas, soccer fields and more. Playground structures reopened on Saturday, May 16. Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield issued an amendment allowing restaurant seating to expand, and announced that dog parks, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts and more are all reopening. The Oro Valley Aquatic Center, Community Center, playgrounds and volleyball courts will open June 1.
• Pima County Public Libraries reopened this week with limited services, including book pickup, computer use on a first-come, first-served basis, and printing, copying and fax services. The new open hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. People who visit the library should wear face masks, maintain physical distance and be prepared for temperature checks before they will be allowed to enter. The library will also allow only a limited number of people in at a time.
—Additional reporting from Kathleen B. Kunz, Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner, Tara Foulkrod and Jim Nintzel