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KNAU's Morning Rundown: Monday, March 22


It's Monday, March 22. 


Coconino County Opens COVID-19 Vaccine To All Residents 18 And Older

Coconino County has opened COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to all residents 18 and older; county officials made the announcement Friday while opening thousands of new vaccine appointments. The county also launched an “End Of Day Extra Dose” wait list for individuals in the case that unused doses remain at the end of a vaccination day. The county’s data dashboard estimated 34% of individuals have received at least one dose of vaccine as of Monday morning.  Gila County expanded eligibility to the same age group in mid-February; Pinal County announced a similar expansion last week.

In-Person Classes Resume At FUSD

In-person classes resume today for some students at the Flagstaff Unified School District. The shift comes after more than a year of schedule changes, cancellations and closures in schools nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s return to in-person learning will apply to students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, along with high school freshmen and seniors. Students can continue remote learning through the end of the current school year, FUSD says. As of March 5, the district had confirmed 275 COVID-19 cases among students and staff since the start of the pandemic. Flagstaff Police and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office reminded drivers to practice caution around school zones, buses and children. 

Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this month issued an executive order requiring Arizona schools in most counties to return to in-person learning by March 15 or after the school’s spring break; Coconino, Yavapai and Pinal counties were exempt from the order.

Mohave County Expands Vaccinations To 55 And Older Age Group

Mohave County has expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to adults 55 and older. The announcement came Friday as the county anticipates a new allocation of 10,000 of the Moderna vaccine, along with 500 doses of the newly approved one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. State health officials reported 17.8% of the county has received some form of vaccine as of Monday — falling below the state’s overall vaccination rate, which stood at 25.5% as of this morning.

Grants For Live Venues Slated To Open Next Month

The Small Business Association will begin accepting grant applications from live venues shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new program applies to operators of museums, theaters, and live venues among other workers. The application window will open April 8. Live performance spaces, including music venues, closed nationwide amid the pandemic; the Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff remains open, though events have been virtual, while The Museum Club closed in January before reopening under new ownership.

Committee To Deliberate Maternal Mental Health In AZ

Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday signed a bill into law establishing the creation of a maternal mental health advisory committee. S.B. 1011 seeks to improve screening and treatment processes for mental health conditions related to parenthood; the committee will include a representative from the Indian Health Service, a social worker, and multiple pediatricians among other health experts. The committee is tasked with providing recommendations to state officials before the end of 2022. A study conducted at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital has reported a rise in depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Republican State Sen. J.D. Mesnard proposed the recently passed legislation.

MCSO Continues Years-Long Search For Yucca Man

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office is seeking help from the public in a continuing search for a missing man from Yucca. The county’s special investigation unit searched for Ralph Gajrajsingh, who was last seen in May, 2016 and had made statements about traveling to Arkansas and Louisiana. County officials on Friday asked individuals with relevant information to contact the special investigations unit; Gajrajsingh is 74 years old, five-foot-six, and is Black with brown eyes and black hair. The Mohave Daily News reported in 2016 that Gajrajsingh could have Alzheimer’s disease.