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KNAU and Arizona News

KNAU's Morning Rundown: Tuesday, May 25

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Navajo Nation Surpasses 1,300 Deaths, Sustains Mask Mandates

The Navajo Nation has confirmed 1,301 deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to tribal officials Sunday evening. A mask mandate for indoor and outdoor spaces remains effective on the reservation, despite a recent loosening of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The Nation also began a new reopening phase Monday for flea markets, food stands, and roadside businesses, allowing vendors to operate with a permit.

New AZ Laws Address Overdose Prevention 

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a new law Monday outlining guidelines for government-run overdose and disease prevention programs in Arizona. The new legislation requires such programs to provide naloxone hydrochloride — also commonly referred to as Narcan — which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. 

Another Arizona law went into effect last week allowingthe use of fentanyl testing products, which can determine whether a substance is laced with the lethal opioid. SB 1486 mandates that such products are not recognized as illegal drug paraphernalia. The law was sponsored by State Sen. Christine Marsh, whose own 25-year-old son died from a fentanyl overdose in 2020.

 

Page Surpasses Flagstaff, Williams In Vaccination Rates

The City of Page is reporting the highest vaccination rate against COVID-19 in Coconino County. County officials estimated Friday that 66.8% percent of the city’s population has been partially or fully inoculated; more than 45.6% of Flagstaff has received at least one dose, along with 36.6% of Williams residents. 

County data shows Page recorded more than 1,200 cases over the course of the pandemic within the town of about 7,500 residents.

 

Coconino County Board Of Supervisors Mulls Face Mask Proclamation

The Coconino County Board of Supervisors is slated to discuss the possible rescinding of a countywide mask mandate at a meeting tonight

The agenda item comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed national guidelines for individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. Local health officials estimate 48.5% of Coconino County has received a vaccine.

The county initially launched a proclamation last year requiring face coverings in public indoor spaces and some outdoor spaces. Gov. Doug Ducey this spring passed an executive order prohibiting local governments from enforcing mask mandates. County officials confirmed fewer than 20 new COVID-19 cases last week.

 

Flagstaff Housing Plan In Flux After Emergency Declared In December

The City of Flagstaff continues to circulate a housing survey as officials develop a housing plan for the next ten years. The survey will close Friday, May 29; a public comment period is slated for August before officials present a housing plan in September. It comes months after Flagstaff declared a housing emergency in December, calling for more affordable living options. 

A study released by the city in February estimates 22,373 people in the city are housing cost burdened, meaning they allocate more than 30% of their monthly income to cover housing costs.

 

Coconino County Starlink Trial Kicks Off

Coconino County officials announced Friday they’ve installed StarLink Internet in 45 rural homes to bolster local connectivity. The program will provide one year of internet access to the dozens of homes at no cost to residents; the initiative is a partnership between the county and CEO Elon Musk’s Space-X enterprise. The county invested a reported $81,000 into the project.

 

About 78.2% of Coconino County households report having an internet broadband subscription, according to a 2019 estimate from the U.S. Census.

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