COVID-19 in Arizona: 13 residents dead, 28 infected at assisted living facility in Chandler

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CRONKITE NEWS
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PHOENIX – COVID-19 has swept through an assisted living facility in Chandler, where 13 residents have died due to complications from the disease and 28 others have tested positive, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday evening.

“Our condolences and hearts go to the families of these residents. We are grieving each one as we have cared for them,” Amira Fahoum of the facility’s parent company, Compass Living, told azcentral.com.

The 13 deaths account for 13% of all COVID-19 related deaths in Maricopa County and 6% of Arizona’s total, as of Tuesday, the newspaper noted.



State health officials Wednesday reported 21 new deaths from COVID-19, matching Tuesday’s record one-day total.

Christina Burke, who pulled her mother out of Pennington Gardens in Chandler, said the tragedy could’ve been avoided.



“It was 100 percent preventable,” Burke told ABC15. “Maybe not the first death, but definitely all the rest.”

The Arizona Health Department is not releasing the names of the dead and did not immediately respond to a Cronkite News request for comment.

Pennington Gardens is just one of several Maricopa County assisted-living facilities that have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases. According to azcentral.com, there have been more than 350 cases reported among residents in long-term care facilities and 47 deaths. Together, that’s nearly half of all 97 COVID-19 deaths in Maricopa County.

As of Wednesday, April 22, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 5,459 cases of COVID-19 and 229 deaths in the state. It said 56,601 tests for COVID-19 have been completed as of April 22 in public and private labs in Arizona, and 9% of tests have come back positive for the virus.
ASU tests Phoenix first responders for COVID-19
Arizona State University is testing Phoenix police and firefighters, who are at a higher risk for the COVID-19 virus, free of charge. ABC15 reports that the tests are being paid for by a philanthropic arm of the university. “They’ve indicated by testing this population, we would get (insight) into how far COVID-19 has penetrated Phoenix,” said Milton Dohoney, assistant city manager.

Campfires prohibited in national forests until June 30
Campfires are forbidden in Arizona’s six national forests because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fox10 reports. These restrictions, which are in effect until June 30, apply to the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Coronado, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto national forests. The agency stated part of the reason is to reduce firefighters’ exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. “While we know that going outside provides forest and grassland visitors needed space, exercise, and satisfaction, we are taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously,” said Elaine Kpohman, acting regional forester.

Phoenix to spend $18 million to help homeless and vulnerable
The City Council approved $18 million to help support those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak. Fox 10 reports the money will go toward fighting homelessness, reducing housing insecurity and micro-loan opportunities for small businesses and nonprofits.

Arizona students get additional meal-assistance benefits
More than 600,000 Arizona students who are eligible for meal assistance during the school year will receive additional benefits equivalent to one free breakfast and one free lunch for each eligible child, the Governor’s Office announced Tuesday. “We are working to ensure no Arizona kid goes hungry during the COVID-19 health emergency,” Ducey said in a press release.

ASU hoop star, now a doctor, serves Navajos in tiny rural hospital
Former Arizona State basketball player Michelle Tom is treating coronavirus patients in an underfunded community hospital for Native Americans, Cronkite News reports. “We are seeing a rise in patients with symptoms like cough, fever, chills, body aches,” said Tom, a physician. “We have a lot more positives coming. It rises every week. We project in our area that at the end of May will be our peak.”

St. Mary’s Food Bank helps the Navajo Nation
The Navajo Health Command Operations Center is delivering donated boxes of food from the St. Mary’s Food Bank to the elderly and to those who have underlying medical conditions. “To the many donors that contributed to St. Mary’s Food Bank and who made this possible, the Navajo Nation owes you a debt of gratitude for contributing positively to the health and well-being of our people,” Council Speaker Seth Damon said. To donate to the St. Mary’s Food Bank click here.

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