Steve K's Newsletter 08/24/20

Topics in this Issue:

This week’s blue light recognition is also a Local Tucson item. Rescue Me Wellness is one of our local businesses that’s also stepping up and helping with COVID testing. 

The testing is free, and the most important piece is the turnaround time is under 48 hours. Rescue Me Wellness is doing the tests over at 2502 N. Dodge, but if you’ve got a business or health care facility that wants to do 10 or more tests, they’ll come to you. There are two test options – either the saliva or the nasal. It's up to you.
We’ve got to continue to expand the test opportunities, and we’ve got to be sure the turnaround on getting results is quick enough so contact tracing for people who test positive can be meaningful. You can register online at https://tucsoncovidtesting.com or call them at 433.8000.

And I’ll add the firefighters who are working the California fires right now. Every day, all day, people are out in these conditions trying to save property and lives:
 
We’re grateful to them for the work they do, placing their lives in jeopardy daily in service to people they don’t even know.

Leave Behind Narcan Pilot Program

More kudos to firefighters. Our TFD leadership deserves credit for kicking off a pilot program that may save lives when people overdose. Called the “Leave Behind Narcan Pilot Program,” this is a project now in place with our Emergency Medical Service teams. Narcan is a medication that immediately addresses the symptoms of an active opiate overdose.

Since COVID hit we’ve seen a 3x increase in the number of patients who simply refuse to be transported to an ER. Once an EMT delivers a dose of Narcan, we can’t force the person to go to the hospital or other treatment facility. That could mean a repeat OD if the person is left untreated. 

Under this new pilot program, the TFD personnel on site can leave a Narcan kit behind with friends or family members. If the person OD’s again, they have the meds that can save a life. The State DHS encourages these sorts of programs, especially in a time like this when people are afraid to go to an ER for fear of contracting coronavirus.

I’ll add this comment – if you need emergency medical help, don’t avoid the ER. Doing that will only cause whatever is ailing you to get worse. I get that from all of the hospital administrators and medical people I’ve spoken with throughout the City. Ok, back to the Narcan program.

There are three fire stations included in this pilot program. They’re located around areas where we’ve seen the highest number of opiate overdoses. They leave behind a single dose of intranasal Narcan, along with instructing the person who’ll be keeping it on how it’s administered. We’re able to do this as a result of a significant donation that came from the Liberty Partnership Kino Neighborhoods Coalition.

Based on recent history we expect to be delivering a couple packages per week through each of the 3 stations. If that means saving a couple of lives per week – or even one for the whole period of the program – then the donation paid off. Thanks to Liberty, and thanks to our TFD folks for taking part in this very progressive work.

Private Student Housing

Last week, as UA student move-in began, I started some outreach to several of the student housing towers and other complexes that are situated around campus. At each press briefing, President Robbins says very clearly that while they can somewhat control student behavior on-campus, what happens off-campus is out of the UA’s control. I wanted to see how the private ‘dorms’ were approaching COVID.

While my conversations will continue, the early returns aren’t comforting. I was hoping to hear that they’re limiting occupancy to single’s in rooms. In fact, they’re aiming to fill the rooms as has happened in the past. I was hoping to hear that they’d have some protocols in place for wellness checks. None do, so far. Testing? No. I’ve given out the contact information for free testing on campus to some of the operators. Getting their student-residents to follow through is the challenge. Contact tracing? Separate isolated rooms for those who test positive? Shutting down congregate areas like party decks? No, no, and no. Deep cleaning in infected rooms? Has not been planned for.

And how about the place over on Stone that’s offering students 2 free beers from a nearby bar. For what? The manager of the ‘luxury’ place said the students are ‘kind of thrilled’ and there are ‘no strings attached’. It’s to help them get acclimated to their new home surroundings, I guess.

I was told that off campus frat houses around Ring Road were busy setting up Cornhole games outside over the weekend, not masked, and in large groups. And I had an exchange with TPD to alert them that we had some more beer cans tossed into the mosque parking lot on Friday night.

The UA campus is reopening today. There will be around 5,000 students on campus for classes. That grows to over 25,000 in a few weeks. Knowing that we will be housing them together in these towers, and other off-campus private housing, students who arrive here from all over the country, with neither testing nor tracing protocols in place is a recipe for a resurgence.

Here’s this week’s age demographic breakdown for COVID. Please understand, the 20-44 age group isn’t largely the group whose ending up in the hospital, although some have lost their lives. This is the age group that’s arriving in these private dorms around campus, and the ones who we’re relying on to be responsible, get tested, mask up, and not spread the virus around the City. 

I'd have been a whole lot more confident that was going to happen if we were seeing incentives such as management handing out masks and inviting testing agencies onto their property to give some antigen tests. We’ll soon see how the free beers work out.

Fall Gem Shows

Each year we give a lot of publicity to the spring gem shows, as we should. They’re a huge economic driver for the region. Less well known though are the fall shows. We got word last week from our Visit Tucson partners that the 4 shows that make up the fall presentation will not be cancelled. 

Two of the shows are for professional dealers. The JOGS show and the Gem & Lapidary Wholesalers shows are ‘credentials only’ shows. But the Best Bead show and Kent’s Tools show are both hoping to see you show up, browse and walk away with some goodies.

The JOGS will run from September 3rd through 6th over at the Tucson Expo Center. The other 3 shows will run from the 10th through the 13th. Each one will require masks and social distancing by both staff and visitors. And they’ll have hand sanitizing stations throughout the show footprint. Attendance will be monitored to be sure the 6’ minimum is being adhered to.

These shows will be a nice boost for our economy. As I’ve written, COVID has been a drag on our budget, so any commercial push we can get is welcome. To get all the locations and show times, you can find it all on this Visit Tucson link:  https://www.visittucson.org/things-to-do/gem-lapidary/tucsons-fall-gem-show

Monthly COVID Reports

Each week I give COVID updates from several different sets of data. We know that relying on a day-by-day look is inaccurate because there are reporting lags that cause the data to be flawed. So most reliable sources are looking at 7 day rolling averages in order to draw conclusions. 

One of the sources I look at is a monthly report we get from our Risk Management people. It’s a compilation of data from State and County sources that our people combine into several different forms. It’s a fairly detailed report that breaks the data down into numbers at the State and County level, by zip code, percent positive tests, and it shows impacts of various kinds on our medical system.

In the past month I’ve been making the point that data sets coming from the State are inaccurate. I include County data in the newsletters – the source for what the State should be reporting – and it’s different than what the State is using to make recommendations on things such as opening schools and businesses. If you can’t rely on the data, you can’t rely on the recommendations.

In the most recent Risk Management monthly report this language appears up front, before any of the analyses are given:

Reading that our own report on health conditions, hospital conditions and testing is evaluated knowing “not all data is available or accurate” doesn’t leave me with a huge sense of confidence in the results. And it validates the point I’ve been making about what we’re getting from the State. Here’s one example. This is a graph shown during the UA press briefing intended to reflect the trends we’re seeing in Pima County.

And here’s the chart put out by Pima County showing the totals they turned into the State for August, through the 17th (the last date on the chart).

The graph for the 5th and the 12th might sort of line up, but none of the other days come close to what Pima County turned into the State. And with 162 new cases being reported by the County on August 17th, the chart showing zero is a head-scratcher.

And for comparison, this is what the NY Times site reported for Tucson over that same period:

That much more closely matches the Pima County data than what the UA is using from the State site. Good trend line, but numbers still too high to be planting a flag and declaring victory.

I’ll keep providing COVID information from varying sources and will not rely on what comes from the State – or will point out where their information is clearly flawed. And below I’ll show again how the daily counts are not reliable to be making policy from. Averaging counts over 7 days, or longer is what our focus needs to be. Schools and businesses need accurate information if we’re going to reopen safely.

Reopening the Zoo and Some Parks Elements

Last week I ran across an article that spoke to the value of getting out and enjoying just being in open spaces – re-creating ourselves. They had a gauge affectionately called a hedonometer. They used it to score tweets – the University of Vermont conducted the study where they assigned a ‘happiness’ value to key words they found in tweets. The word ‘laughter’ for example scored an 8.5, while ‘jail’ got a 1.76. I didn’t do some big deep dive into their methodology but appreciated the conclusion that parks visits are correlated with positive feelings – and parks visits have been largely shut down during COVID. I’ve been advocating that we loosen the restrictions and finally that’s happening.

Before I get to the details of the reopening, this little graph comes from the Vermont study. 

I clipped it starting at last Christmas. You can see the impacts on feelings of positivity/negativity once COVID hit in March. Interestingly the social justice protests really bummed people out. They surveyed park visitors around the University of Vermont and found that using green spaces was highly important to feelings of well-being. The conclusion – parks keep people happy in times where the world seems to be coming apart.

So, back to our local situation. On August 28th, the zoo will reopen for “Wildlife Walks”. It’ll be open from 8am until 2pm. You will need to buy your tickets online and in advance because they’ll be limiting the number of guests each day. That’s of course to insure social distancing. Also, all guests will be required to wear a mask. You’ll see the social distance markings on the ground. And please bring water with you when you visit. The drinking fountains will remain shut down for now, although there’ll be some food/drink available at some outdoor food carts. You can get tickets at www.reidparkzoo.org

In addition, you may have noticed that over the weekend we started removing some of the caution tape from small ramadas in the parks. Those are for groups of 10 or fewer to use. To reserve one go to the online reservation system at EZEEreg.com. You can also use that link to register for Parks and Rec outdoor classes. The larger ramadas will remain closed so we can be sure the group size limits are respected.

Racket sports will reopen, but with limits on participation of 4 or fewer. And you’ll be able to get some exercise playing racquetball, handball, sand volleyball, bocce and badminton. No basketball though.

I’ve had some exchanges with many of you about playgrounds. Yes, they’ll also be reopening. We’ll be cleaning them daily, but it’d be great if we could get parents to help by bringing along some sanitizer to do a little of that as well when your kids are done.

Outdoor pools are going to remain closed. I don’t agree with that part of the plan but wasn’t asked. It seems that’s exactly the sort of facility we can easily maintain safety standards – but it’ll come in time.

This all only works if everyone plays by the rules. Wear masks, keep the size of your group under 10, social distance – and have fun with whatever activity you take part in. The hedonometer validates the value of our being out in open spaces and enjoying the activity.

Earnings Disregard / Unemployment Benefits

In Arizona, when you apply for unemployment insurance (UI) you’re allowed to disregard a portion of your income so that that portion of what you’re earning is not deducted from your UI benefit. During COVID there are lots of people who have had their hours reduced, so they’re applying for UI benefits. Any earnings above the ‘disregard’ amount reduces your UI benefit on a dollar for dollar basis. Check out the map below – poached from a Grand Canyon Institute (GCI) study – and you’ll see how Arizona stacks up with other States. 

That $30 income allowance we have in place is the lowest in the nation. Couple that with our 2nd lowest weekly benefit of $240 and it sends a tough message to people whose hours have been reduced and they’re trying to get back on their feet. What it does is provide a disincentive to working even part time while unemployed for fear of losing even partial UI benefits.

Why is this an issue now? Didn’t I share last week that the feds are offering $300 per week as a temporary supplement? Not the $600 that expired, and Ducey chose not to kick in the $100 Trump had originally required of States before they could even get the $300. What’s the connection to the earnings disregard? 

A part of the $300 coming from the feds is the requirement that recipients are also getting at least $100 in UI from the State. That piece didn’t get much media play, but it matters if every dollar earned above $30 is deducted from your UI benefit. Workers who have had hours reduced from say 40 to 15 are now penalized for every dollar they earn over $30, to the point where working even those few hours may make them ineligible for the $300 coming from D.C.

There are two possible solutions, both of which are easy. One solution would not cost the State nearly as much as tossing in the $100 match Trump had initially required. Simply raise the earnings disregard so people can continue earning some meager amounts (above $30) and not have their UI benefits reduced. Once they hit the $100 UI level, they qualify for the added $300. The other solution is to disregard the earnings disregard for the purposes of qualifying for the $300 federal money. In fact, after GCI made an issue of this, the State Department of Economic Security relented and is now letting people qualify for the federal money based on the maximum UI benefit they’d be eligible for, not counting the disregard income. 

Grand Canyon Institute estimated about 15,000 Arizonans would be blocked from getting the $300 if they had been penalized through that low income disregard. They estimated if the disregard was increased to $130 (essentially pushing them over the $100 minimum UI) those 15,000 people would qualify for the $300 from Trump. Cost to the State? About $7.5M. It’s a step the State should be considering regardless of the $300 federal money that’s on the table. It would encourage people to at least stay in the workforce while receiving partial UI.

The State of Arizona has over $500M sitting in our Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. If you multiply $300 x 15,000 people, and then multiply that by the 5 weeks the federal program is supposed to last, that means an additional roughly $22M income is infused into the State economy. 

Spending $7.5M to return a guaranteed $22M should be a pretty easy decision, even if you don’t care about keeping people from having to live on under $100 per week. For now, the ADES’ approach of ignoring the disregard is a humane solution. In the long run, telling people they can’t earn over $30 per week or they’ll have unemployment insurance reduced dollar for dollar doesn’t seem like the best way to help our friends and neighbors stay afloat financially.

TEP Voluntary Conservation Request

It’s hot outside. You may have noticed. That is causing the energy folks over at TEP some heartburn. You see, even though they expect to have enough electricity on hand, there’s the possibility of temporary blackouts during peak use times if we don’t all help by reducing the draw on the grid certain times of the day.

TEP has asked that between 3pm and 8pm we all pitch in to help ease the strain on their grid. Both Arizona Public Service and TRICO have also asked this of their customers. Conserving is a good thing in the normal course of affairs – during this heat wave, it’s even more important.

Some ways they suggest you might reduce use include  

• Turn up your thermostat to 78 or higher as you can safely tolerate.
• Avoid using non-essential appliances and equipment.
• Adjust timers to ensure that pool pumps operate at night, not during the day.
• Avoiding use of electric laundry dryers or other appliances during the day that can raise the interior temperature of your home or business.
• Using shades, blinds or curtains to keep sunlight out, especially during the afternoon in rooms facing west.

Above I shared some information related to the California fires. They’ve had blackouts, and their power companies have also called for reduced usage. And because these are limited supply power resources, pretty basic supply/demand economics instructs us that when we’re all going after the same limited supply, costs can spike.

Please do what you can to help. It’ll start cooling off soon, so consider this a short-term sacrifice for the greater good of not only the community, but communities throughout the southwest.

Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports (SAAS) CARES

Jot down this contact – Mia Hansen, 370.0588 or miajhansen08@gmail.com. You may remember her from Tucson Meet Yourself days. Now she’s running the Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports program.

In response to the COVID impact on people who have disabilities, they’ve launched a SAAS CARES program. The program is only possible because of a grant provided by the Craig H. Nielsen Foundation. Through it they’re serving the emergency needs of people who have had spinal cord injuries, amputations or other ambulatory limiting issues. SAAS CARES will deliver food and medical supplies, pick up and drop off donated wheelchairs and medical equipment, and they have a mobile wheelchair repair service for things such as fixing flats, brake adjustments or replacing casters. 

If your garage is remotely similar to mine, you’ve got stuff stuffed in it that you won’t ever use again. Some of it might be beneficial to SAAS’ clients. Please consider donating your used wheelchairs, medical support or exercise equipment. They’re still hosting socially distanced outdoor recumbent cycling and other outdoor activities for the SAAS members, so all of the things you aren’t using can be a lifeline for others in the community who otherwise find it difficult to get out and around.

Give Mia a call and she’ll be happy to talk through their needs and programs. 

Third Street Bike Boulevard

Speaking of mobility and biking, our TDOT folks are hosting a Zoom to share plans for, and get input into the Prop 407 extension of the 3rd Street Bike Boulevard. The segment they’re focused on right now is the area between Stone and 4th Avenue. 

There were public meetings last year in which they got some initial input. That has been incorporated into some design concepts which will be shared during the upcoming meeting. That meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 25th from 6pm until 7pm. You can join virtually by going to bit.ly/universitytownhall or call in at 213.293.2303 and add the conference ID 233 795 430#. If you have accessible format or foreign language interpretation questions, call them at 403.4212. 

Voter Education Through DIRECT

Our long-time partners at DIRECT Center for Independence are hosting a series of voter education presentations during the month of September. These are geared towards youth between the ages of 16-24 and people who may have cognitive disabilities. This is a significantly important set of presentations in order to get that demographic involved in our election process.

Each session will last about 90 minutes – Thursday's from 1pm until 2:30pm. These are free, but you have to register in advance so they can on-board you into the meeting as it begins. The course will touch on the what, why and how of the election process. To get involved please contact Hannah at DIRECT either by email (HannahW@directilc.org) or by phone at 561.8775.  The timing is perfect, and the importance is clear so I hope you can get involved.

TPD Academy Class

A couple of weeks ago I gave a rundown on our TPD staffing and touched on how difficult it is to keep up with attrition. We lose officers every month for a variety of reasons. Every profession does. But it’s not as hard to recruit replacements in every profession. 

On August 3rd we began a new academy class. There are 23 recruits in the class. Take a moment and guess at how many applicants completed an application to get us to that number. 

The process involves a series of steps. First of course is the initial application. Then a screening gets you to a number who are invited to take a written test. Following that is a basic skills test, background checks, medical and psychological exams. That gets us to the total invited to take part in the academy.

So what was your guess? 

There were actually 2 hiring processes to get the 23 recruits. In total they took 1,089 applications. The initial screening for things like age, felony convictions or other clear disqualifiers left 644 who were invited to take the written test. Only 386 actually showed up to take the test. Of those, 227 passed and were placed on the eligible for hire list. Then came the background check. There were 52 who survived that part of the process. And finally, 29 were left after the medical and psychological exams. Six of those dropped out of the academy.

When I wrote a few weeks ago that we could lose up to 1/3 of our officers in the next 12 months simply due to retirement, and looking at how difficult it is to keep pace with normal attrition, you can better understand my concerns during the recent ‘defund’ conversations a couple of the mayor and council members were entertaining. 

Expanding Outdoor Seating

More outdoor dining is coming to downtown. This is a continuation of the work I’ve been engaged in with our planning and transportation/parking folks. The common goal is to help some of our local businesses survive the COVID hit they’re taking. 

A while back I shared some design plans for Penca. Now we’ve got plans lined up for 98-110 E. Congress. It’ll be a Parklet patio dining space that will be located in the City right-of-way. Here’s a rough rendering of what you’ll soon be able to enjoy.

The seating will be in 2 existing parking spaces – sorry Donovan – but they’ll relocate those into an existing loading zone just west of the seating. All of the pedestrian traffic will still be on the sidewalk.

Early this week I’m meeting with representatives from 4th Ave and our planning people to continue working on ways to expand this concept. COVID isn’t disappearing anytime soon, so these are important steps aimed at preserving businesses. 

Please continue to support our locals with take-out orders. And consider extending that support to these outdoor seating options as more of them come on board.

Virtual ‘Aging Mastery’ Classes

When COVID started back in March, we co-hosted a Zoom with PCOA to talk about social isolation. I’ve written about that issue from time to time. The folks at PCOA are now partnered with the National Council on Aging and are offering a 10-week class for people over 50 aimed at enhancing lives for seniors. With the bulk of us still stuck mostly at home, the content is particularly important.

The classes will cover a variety of topics; physical activity levels, societal connectedness, healthy eating habits, advanced planning, and more. All of the course materials will be provided during each session. The weekly classes will each be 90 minutes long and will include speakers, group discussions, peer support and other tools. 

If you register by August 28th the cost per person is $80 for the whole course. It goes up to $90 after that. The classes will begin on Tuesday, September 15th and will run through November 17th. We’re all looking for ways to ensure our loved ones are staying connected and are making good decisions. These courses may be a great way to help with those goals.Call PCOA at 305.3409 to register.

Street Murals

Recently the City put up some money to assist in the painting of a Black Lives Matter mural over on Stone Ave. Shortly afterwards we revoked a permit that had been issued to paint a blue line outside of TPD headquarters. You likely remember the coverage. You can Google it if you want to relive the controversy. My goal is to get some final clarity on what is in fact allowed by policy.

On August 15th, KVOA ran a segment in which the Mayor is on camera saying that our City Attorney set a policy by which no more murals may be painted on City right-of-way. The following Monday I came to work and penned this study session request.

We have allowed shamrocks to be painted in intersections for St. Patrick’s Day. We used the Ward 3 office money to paint a rainbow crosswalk on 4th Ave. And we allowed and funded the BLM mural. Then we said ‘no’ to the police blue line. In my mind there’s a real content-based vulnerability in that decision. My intent for the study session is to have an open and public conversation about what we will, and what we will not allow, and what the ground rules will be. It’s only fair that the public understand our policy. As I said in the request memo, policy is set by the governing body, not by the Attorney.

COVID Count Comparisons

I clipped this frame from a recent presentation given by the UA President and former Surgeon General Carmona. The closed caption is what Dr. Carmona is saying - 


 And indeed, my friend Richard Carmona is right. We are learning more about COVID every day. Opening schools, the UA, businesses, parks, student housing towers – all of it is a part of a ’big experiment’ that we’re testing as we go.

Back on March 31st when the Governor issued his Stay at Home Executive Order, the coronavirus count chart looked like this. The last column is Pima County’s change from day to day.

That was sufficient to close everything down. Here’s what the end of last week looked like:

I share this, not to suggest we should return to the original Stay at Home, but to suggest we are a long way from ‘back to normal’. Public schools opened last week. The UA is beginning its reopening this week. At least 3 Universities around the country tried to reopen and shut down within 2 weeks. I’m aware of a private school out on the east side in Tucson that’s not social distancing. And we did shut down a TUSD elementary school last week. 

I’ll have more data below, but please take this stuff seriously. Opening up racket sports and playgrounds is not a get out of jail free invitation. Wear a mask when in public and not able to social distance. If you have symptoms, stay at home. CDC guidelines continue to recommend frequent hand washing and sanitizing commonly touched items such as door handles and faucets. 

I’m hopeful we don’t see a resurgence, but that will only be the case if enough of us follow the rules that have clearly been set by the virus. They’re not onerous – let’s follow the Nike slogan and Just Do It.

F35 Environmental Impact Study

In past newsletters I’ve let you know about the opportunity to provide your input on the idea of bedding down F35’s at DM. That was all a part of an environmental impact assessment the DOD was doing. Now they’ve finished that study and have a recommended site for the aircraft.

The 4 bases that were under consideration were DM, a Naval Air station in Ft. Worth, Homestead Air Reserve in Florida, and Whiteman AFB in Missouri. The analysis included multiple factors such as impacts of noise, impact on low income and minority areas, proximity to residential, proximity to suitable training areas, the cost of new infrastructure, existing staffing, and some others. In each of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) studies I’ve seen, DM was not the top candidate. That was based on how it measured up on the EIS criteria. The final decision validated those earlier studies.

The DOD has now posted the Final EIS on the proposed F35 beddown for public review. In the report they choose Ft. Worth as the ‘Preferred Alternative,’ and the other 3 bases are listed as ‘Reasonable Alternatives.’ I’m good with sending the F35’s to Ft. Worth, but I don’t believe DM is a ‘reasonable’ option if that falls through. None of the prior NEPA’s have come to that conclusion.

You can review the Final EIS online at www.AFRC-F35A-beddown.com. This review period will last until September 21st. Once this waiting period is closed, the USAF will sign the Record of Decision naming Ft. Worth as the preferred site. 

Thanks to each of you who took the time to comment during the Draft EIS public comment period that ended last March.

Harvard Global Health Institute & COVID-19

Last week I introduced the Harvard Global Health report on how Counties across the nation are doing with COVID. These are their 4 risk levels. Arizona’s Health Department has 3 levels. I prefer the way Harvard is breaking down the risk.

Last week they had Pima County at a 7-day moving average of 23.3 daily new cases per 100,000 people, and an average of 244 new cases per day on their scale. That’s in the orange, right below the red, tipping point level of risk where they call for stay-at-home to be implemented. This week we’ve made some progress – still in the orange, but the average number of cases has fallen. Here’s the Harvard report from last Saturday evening:

A reduction from 23.3 and 244 down to 15.5 and 162 new cases per day is pretty significant. 
And Arizona overall is doing better than a week ago. Last week we only had 3 counties statewide who were even in the yellow risk category. Here’s what we have now:

That’s a positive step, and yet as Ducey said, it’s not time for a victory lap.  Last week we saw TUSD shut down a school. The City had infections at our KIDCO program. And I’ve already shared thoughts on the private student housing towers surrounding the UA campus and the vulnerability they add to the mix. So it’s good to see the trend, and it’s important we see that trend in the context of our still being in the orange risk level.

This is an extremely contagious virus. Please realize that everything can be reversed if we don’t stick with what got us here.


 
This Be Kind is for Lynn from the Freedom Park Senior Center. She has been working hard to support the residents at Catalina Village Assisted Living over on E. 1st Street. Thanks to Lynn’s involvement, the residents not only receive meals and activities, but in her spare time she sewed these masks for them. 


 
These small acts of Kindness too often go unnoticed. We at the Ward 6 office join the management and staff at Catalina in saying ’thanks’ to Lynn for this outreach.

And how about this image – not the kind of alarm clock you want waking you up in the morning. But this car was embedded in the Waldron family house, nearly hitting their special needs son. It was the second time a car had failed to navigate a turn by their place and ended up as uninvited guests.

KVOA ran the story and a couple of local businesses grabbed on and have now stepped up to help the family avoid any repeat incidents. Cummings Plumbing provided the family with a new air conditioner (they had a broken-down swamp cooler) and Kalamazoo Materials has donated some boulders that will be placed on the exterior of the newly renovated back yard as a barrier to protect the home.

The family is raising two special needs kids. Anthony is blind and suffers some respiratory issues. His room was destroyed in the crash. Thanks to Cummings and Kalamazoo for their Kindness. And kudos to Channel 4 for airing the great story.

Final COVID Data Points

I checked again on the State site to see what they’re now saying about public schools and Pima County. The Governor said schools had to provide some sort of in-person option for kids beginning last week. That’d be great if we were meeting the benchmarks he and his health folks established. I’m not confident their data is as robust as what’s being reported by Pima County, but even with the undercount the State site continues to suffer from, here’s what they’re saying about public schools in Tucson:

Parents, teachers, staff and students are working harder to make this school year work than any of us have in the past. Thank you for all that you’re doing. Options to in-person are available if that’s your choice. It continues to amaze me how different everything has become in such a short amount of time. And flu season is right around the corner.

Below I’ll add the link for the State advice and data on the school system.

And with all of those ‘rolling averages’ and inconsistent data sets, one thing that stays constant is the raw number of cases and fatalities continues to rise. Here’s Pima County as of Sunday evening:

Here’s your weekly update on the Statewide COVID numbers, by county. From last week’s newsletter:

 
And here are the numbers from AZDHS as of last weekend:

Congratulations to Greenlee County – they stayed constant at 57 cases over that 2-week period.

This set of links for data-tracking is turning into quite the set of options. Here goes:
For the NY Times data sets, use this link:   

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/23/upshot/five-ways-to-monitor-coronavirus-outbreak-us.html

And you can find the Harvard data on this site: Harvard Global Health Institute Key Metrics  

The State Department of Health site is at this link: www.azdhs.gov.

And track the advice on public schools through this link: https://www.azed.gov/communications/2020/03/10/guidance-to-schools-on-covid-19/  You can find all the dashboard information at the “School Reopening Public Health Benchmarks” spot. Let your school-aged kids play with it if you can’t find the data you’re after. That might save you some time.

Sincerely,

Steve Kozachik
Council Member, Ward 6
ward6@tucsonaz.gov

 

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