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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Wednesday, March 3



It's Wednesday, March 3.


Arizona officially surpassed 16,000 deaths yesteday from COVID-19 complications since the start of the pandemic. State officials earlier this morning reported 1,284 new cases and 29 recent deaths related to the virus — bringing the statewide total to 16,089 deaths. 

Ducey Receives First COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

Governor Doug Ducey on Tuesday received a first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement comes as the state opened vaccination eligibility to people 55 and older. Ducey, who is 56, received the vaccine at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale; he acknowledged the vaccine as “safe, effective and free.” 

Ducey joins more than 1.2 million people who have received at least one dose of vaccine so far throughout the state, according to the Department of Health Services. ADHS estimates 17.3% of the state’s population has been partially or fully vaccinated. NPR’s Vaccine Tracker ranks Arizona as having the 14th highest population percentage of vaccinated residents in the country.

Coconino County Expands Vaccine Eligibility; Yavapai Waits

Coconino County is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, now including individuals 55 and older. The county announced yesterday the age group will be included in the 1B prioritization category. 

County officials also anticipate about 1,100 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, set to arrive next week. The newly approved vaccine requires just one, rather than two doses to immunize patients, and warrants refrigeration at milder temperatures than those of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. 

On Tuesday, Yavapai County reported it has vaccinated about 44 percent of individuals 65 and older. County officials say once 55 percent of the age group is vaccinated, local health departments may begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents 55 and older. 

Steve Peru Appointed As New Coconino County Manager

The Coconino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appointed Steve Peru as the new County Manager. Peru will begin serving the new position April fifth amid the impending retirement of current County Manager James Jayne. Peru previously served as County Manager; he currently leads the Coconino Community College foundation. 

“The years I spent as County Manager at Coconino County previously were some of the best of my professional career and it feels like I am coming home,” Peru said.

He also served as President and CEO for United Way of Northern Arizona, a non-profit that focuses on community support for local youth. County managers typically oversee multiple roles, including implementation of the county budget, and interaction with residents who make requests to the county government.

Rogers Ethics Complaint Dismissed 

Arizona’s Senate Ethics Panel has dismissed a complaint concerning behavior from Sen. Wendy Rogers. Former legislative aide Michael Polloni Jr. had accused Rogers of urging him to do illegal campaign work and asking Polloni to work while sick from COVID-19, among other allegations.

The panel determined there was not sufficient evidence to discipline Rogers, though two Democratic senators on the committee disagreed and encouraged disciplinary action. Rogers denied the accusations, though she later admitted to shouting profanities at the legal aide. The freshman senator oversees LD6, which includes Flagstaff, Sedona, and Holbrook.

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