Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 12:40 PM

click to enlarge MUFID MAJNUN ON UNSPLASH
Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Pima County Health Department is temporarily pausing the distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the guidance and recommendation from the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services on Tuesday.

In a CDC statement, officials with the CDC and FDA said they are reviewing six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. According to the CDC, all six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. More than 6.8 million doses of the Janssen vaccine have been administered in the U.S. as of Tuesday.

Pima County has distributed 24,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, primarily at the mobile clinics and said they have received “no reports of adverse reactions” in a statement Tuesday.

“Vaccines available today are safe and effective,” said Pima County Health Department Director, Dr. Theresa Cullen. “And although out of an abundance of caution we have paused the use of J&J, we urge unvaccinated to continue to keep getting vaccinated.”

There is a 1 in a million estimated risk of a blood clot from the Janssen vaccine, but there is a 1 in 100 overall risk of dying if you get COVID-19, said Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, associate professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.



Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 12:01 PM

click to enlarge Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus bows his head during a moment of silence during a vigil for George Floyd. - FILE PHOTO BY AUSTIN COUNTS
File photo by Austin Counts
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus bows his head during a moment of silence during a vigil for George Floyd.

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus is President Joe Biden’s pick to oversee Customs and Border Protection in President Joe Biden’s administration.

“I am, of course, very honored to be nominated by the President to lead Customs and Border Protection,” Magnus said. “I look forward to speaking with senators and hearing their thoughts and concerns.”

City officials said Magnus is an ideal choice because of his progressive efforts to promote community policing and his recent work managing the police force in Tucson, a city close to the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Chief Magnus has always understood the importance of distinguishing the role of local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement and how critical this is to protecting community trust,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero in a statement on Monday. “He has gained valuable experience serving as police chief of a major city here in the borderlands.”

Tucson City Council member Karin Uhlich, who was on the council when Magnus was appointed, said he has implemented “key policing measures and focused on alternative methods in a diverse community with a long history of its close relationship with the U.S.-Mexico border.”

After SB 1070, the Mayor and council directed a series of amendments to TPD's General Orders to protect victims and witnesses of crimes from arbitrary immigration status inquiries, prohibit stops and detentions based on "suspicions" of unlawful status, which Magnus implemented, said Romero.

She also noted his efforts in streamlining TDP’s U-visa process, a program that grants legal status to victims willing to help police and prosecutors investigate and prosecute a qualifying crime, and the creation of a new refugee liaison program.

In a 2017 op-ed piece in the Times, Magnus criticized President Trump's immigration policies.

“The harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and Mr. Sessions’s reckless policies ignore a basic reality known by most good cops and prosecutors,” he wrote. “If people are afraid of the police, if they fear they may become separated from their families or harshly interrogated based on their immigration status, they won’t report crimes or come forward as witnesses.”



Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 10:39 AM

click to enlarge JENNA MILLER/ CRONKITE NEWS
Jenna Miller/ Cronkite News

WASHINGTON – The White House began its pitch Monday for President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal by spelling out construction needs in all 50 states, including Arizona which got a grade of C on a recent infrastructure report card.

Biden unveiled his American Jobs Plan on March 31, to fund everything from roads and ports to veterans services and broadband.

“We need to build the infrastructure of today, not repair the one of yesterday,” said Biden, who met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers Monday to discuss the proposal.

“The plan I propose is going to create millions of jobs, rebuild America, protect our supply chains, and revitalize American manufacturing,” he said during a meeting with computer chip manufacturers. “And it’s going to make America research and development a great engine again.”

But the very scope of the plan has drawn criticism from Republicans in Congress like Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Fountain Hills, who said in a letter to the White House last week that the infrastructure proposal ignores the nation’s “most critical transportation needs” and is “dominated by costly distractions.”

“You commit our nation to spending on initiatives completely unrelated to fixing the infrastructure Americans across the country rely upon every day,” Biggs’ letter said. “We should not be using an infrastructure bill to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on small business support, community investment, rural partnerships, and childcare facilities, among other measures.”

But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg defended the plan, saying during a call with reporters Monday that it is “about making sure that America is No.1 and is leading the way in a highly competitive future.”



Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 10:30 AM

Amphitheater Unified School District high schools will host outdoor graduation ceremonies, district officials announced last week.

The three high schools have also consulted with the Pima County Health Department to decide the best health practices to hold these events.

Graduating seniors at all three high schools - Canyon del Oro, Ironwood Ridge, and Amphi - will receive four guest tickets. All attendees must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. A livestream option will also be available for all who cannot or do not wish to attend.

Amphi Communications Director Michelle Valenzuela said students would inform the school if they do not wish to participate, but they are not keeping track at the district level.

In an announcement to students and families, Amphitheater High School Principal A.J. Malis asked for patience as information changes and schedules are determined. The schools are mandating students attend the graduation rehearsal ceremonies to determine the distancing and seating of every student.

At a graduation parent meeting on Wednesday, Ironwood Ridge Principal Matt Munger emphasized the importance of attending the rehearsal.

“If they do not, unfortunately, attend the rehearsal, that will preclude them from participating in the commencement ceremony,” Munger said.

Amphitheater District high schools will also offer students the opportunity to participate in Project Grad. Normally a surprise event for students after graduation, Project Grad will now look a little different with schools using outdoor space to plan a socially distanced celebration after the graduation ceremonies.



Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge In conversation - CARL HANNI
Carl Hanni
In conversation

Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 8:44 AM

With 610 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 850,000 as of Tuesday, April 13, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 58 new cases today, has seen 113,822 of the state’s 850,846 confirmed cases.

With 19 new deaths reported this morning, a total of 17,105 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 2,373 deaths in Pima County, according to the April 12 report.

A total of 565 coronavirus patients were in the hospital as of April 11. That’s roughly 16% of the number hospitalized at the peak of the winter surge, which reached 5,082 on Jan. 12. 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 881 people visited emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on April 12. That number represents 38% 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 150 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on April 12, 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.

UA urging students to start vaccinations by end of the week so they can get both shots before the end of the semester

The University of Arizona is encouraging students to get vaccinated before they travel outside of Pima County and, ideally, students should receive their first dose by Friday to be fully vaccinated come summer vacation, announced UA President Robert C. Robbins Monday morning.



Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Monday, April 12, 2021

Posted By on Mon, Apr 12, 2021 at 5:34 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JEFF GARDNER
Photo by Jeff Gardner

The University of Arizona is encouraging students to get vaccinated before they travel outside of Pima County and, ideally, students should receive their first dose by Friday to be fully vaccinated come summer vacation, UA President Robert C. Robbins said on Monday morning.

“We want to vaccinate as many of our students as we can, prior to the end of the semester, with many students traveling out of state to return home for the summer, or to do programs outside of Pima County,” said Robbins. “We have a very limited window to administer the first dose for them to reach full vaccination before traveling, due to the wait time between doses.”

Last week, the university announced students could register for same-day vaccination appointments at either the student registration tent at the UA POD on Cherry Avenue open from 10 a.m to 8 p.m., or the CAT Ambassador Team Tent on the Mall in front of the Student Union.

Robbins said when speaking to students on campus, they found many are hesitant to receive the vaccine or want to talk to their family or friends before making an appointment.

Faced with hundreds of unfilled appointments daily, the UA POD is looking to tackle the barriers faced due to vaccination hesitancy.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 12, 2021 at 4:00 PM


The Arizona International Film Festival returns this week with 12 days of online and outdoor film screenings from comedy to drama to documentary. The 29th festival kicks off opening night at the MSA Annex on Wednesday, April 14, with an outdoor screening of Dustwun, a drama about a friendship between an undocumented migrant lost from her group traveling toward the United States and a troubled American veteran building his own "wall" out of trash in the desert. Filmmaker Genevieve Anderson will be present at the screening.

The 2021 AIFF includes 24 feature films and 75 shorts. This year’s films range from a bipolar love story to a hike across Utah to an experimental “film poem” about democracy. In addition to feature length films, there are also blocks of short films and panels where film professionals discuss cinematography, international film, independent films, and their own work.

While multiple festival films were shot here in Arizona, other entries range from Italy to Turkey to Sudan.

The 2021 Arizona International Film Festival runs from Wednesday, April 14, to Sunday, April 25. To view the full schedule and to buy tickets, visit filmfestivalarizona.com.