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State records first death from virus

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced Friday that a Maricopa County man in his 50s with “underlying health conditions” has died of the coronavirus. He is the first virus-related death in Arizona.

On Saturday, the agency reported 104 cases in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties. There were 12 reported cases in Pima County and 49 in Maricopa County. Five counties had just one reported case.

Santa Cruz County reported its first case Thursday, saying only that the infected person had traveled to an area where community transmission is present and that they are recovering at home. The person’s age and community of residence was not released.

The test result was confirmed positive by a private laboratory and has been sent to the CDC for confirmation, the county said.

Friends in Deed still has transports

Friends in Deed has closed its office but will continue to provide transportation services for emergent and necessary medical and dental services. To arrange, dispatchers will be available only by phone at 520-625-4424 on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, subject to the availability of volunteer drivers. 

There are no social van trips, grocery shopping or food bank trips until further notice.

U.S., Mexico close border

The U.S.-Mexico border is closed to “non-essential travel,” following a similar restriction along the U.S.-Canada border.

“Neither of these agreements with Canada or Mexico applies to lawful trade or commerce,” Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Friday. “Essential commercial activities will not be impacted. We will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain across our borders.”

Wolf said that “examples of essential travel include but are not limited to” travel for medical purposes, to attend educational institutions, for emergency response or public health purposes, and for “lawful cross-border trade.”

Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard also spoke about the restrictions Friday morning at a news conference in Mexico City, and multiple news outlets cited him as saying that people who live in Mexico and are authorized to work in the United States will still be able to cross the border.

Elective surgeries end at hospital

Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital and all other hospitals in Arizona are suspending all elective surgeries.

“We need to make sure our focus is on identifying, isolating and treating COVID-19 patients,”hospital CEO Kelly Adams said.

The decision came after Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order calling for the delay in “non-essential or elective surgeries.” These restrictions will be in place until further notice.

The hospital also said that visitors will no longer be allowed throughout the coronavirus outbreak. They encourage friends, family and loved ones to stay in touch with patients using texts and phone calls to keep spirits up. 

Banner Health has similar restrictions. Exceptions are that pediatric patients (under the age of 18) may have one adult visitor with them, and laboring mothers may have one support person.

TALGV closed, still adopting out

The Animal League of Green Valley remains closed to the public but animals are still up for adoption and they could use fostering help. 

TALGV president Kim Eisele said the organization decided Thursday to open adoptions by appointment only using the phone and their website to expedite the process and reduce time in the facility.

If anyone is looking to adopt a pet, they can look at the available animals online at TALGV.org, and then call 520-625-3170 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to begin the interview and adoption process, then set an appointment to meet the dog or cat. Pre-selecting a specific animal before setting up an appointment is required.

Eisele said the facility is nearing capacity so they are asking people to hang on to any pets while the facility remains closed and only relinquish a pet in an extreme emergency.

She said TALGV is asking people who are staying home and don't have pets to consider fostering animals to help the organization with resources and space. Not having an animal in the home is a prerequisite for fostering.

TALGV is also accepting dog and cat food as well as monetary donations. owever, Eisele said the organization is restricting donations to food and money only at this time.

The Attic – a thrift store that funds TALGV – is also closed and has resulted in a $1,300 to $1,700 per day loss for the organization, she said.

"The animals are receiving care, thanks to our amazing volunteers," she said. "That's why we're being so careful about who comes in because we have to keep the volunteers safe."

MVD limits access to state offices

The state Motor Vehicle Division has limited office visits to  customers who need essential services that must be done in person.

Two-thirds of MVD services are available online at ServiceArizona.com. Starting Monday, appointments will be required for any in-office services. Walk-in customers will be directed to access services online or by phone, or if necessary, to make an appointment to return.

Expiration dates for customers whose license or permit expires between March 1 and Sept. 1 have been extended for six months. 

Programs canceled but parks open

The Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation has canceled all of its events, including those at Historic Canoa Ranch.

NRPR will no longer have Historic Canoa Ranch, Anza Trail and Gardens of Canoa tours as well as environmental education programs and bird walks. The market also is closed.

However, parks will remain open to the public throughout the county, including the three county parks in Green Valley. The ranch's gate will remain open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, providing access to the lake and Anza Trail. The ranch's historic structures and exhibits will remain closed to the public.

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