Morning Rundown: Friday, July 9
It’s Friday, July 9. Half of Arizona’s total population has now been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Department of Health Services. ADHS says more than 3.5 million people have received at least one dose. It rises above the nationwide vaccination rate of 47.7% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though daily administration rates have continued to slow statewide.
COVID-19 vaccine clinics are on tap this morning outside the Coconino County Courthouse lawn, and this evening in Flagstaff’s Heritage Square. Another clinic is set for Saturday at the Page High School parking lot.
The delta variant has been confirmed in Mohave County and on the Navajo Nation. As of July 9, three cases of the delta variant have been confirmed in Coconino County.
Ducey Signs Law Hindering Critical Race Theory
Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2906 this morning. The legislation will prohibit state and local government entities to use any curriculum that could cause discomfort or guilt to an employee due to the individual’s race, ethnicity, or gender. It also bars entities from implying that an individual has unconscious racist or sexist beliefs due to the person’s race or gender.
It’s the latest in a series of moves from state lawmakers to hinder the teachings of critical race theory; late last month, legislators passed a provision in the 2022 budget that would prohibit similar teachings in public schools.
AMBER Alert Cancelled, Children Found Unharmed
The Navajo Police Department says an AMBER Alert has been cancelled after two children were found safe south of Dolores, Colorado in the early hours of Friday morning. Police initiated the search for the 16-month old and 3-month old children Thursday. The children’s mother had reported them missing after their father took the children near Aneth, Utah.
State Trust Land Opens; Tiger Fire Grows
State trust land reopened this morning in all 15 counties as some wildfire activity subsides in northern Arizona. Stage II fire restrictions are effective for state-owned lands in Coconino, Navajo, Apache, Yavapai, Mohave and Gila counties among others.
The lightning-caused Tiger Fire near Crown King has reached 15,685 acres with 29% containment; the Rafael Fire southwest of Flagstaff is 95% contained; the Backbone Fire west of Pine and Strawberry is 98% contained with mostly low to moderate burn severity, according to a assessment from the U.S. Forest Service.
Navajo Nation Sees Uptick In Cases, No Recent Deaths
Navajo Nation officials reported 24 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and no recent deaths for the fourth day in a row. President Jonathan Nez says contact tracers are attributing the uptick in cases to residents who traveled to Las Vegas; he continued to encourage face coverings and vaccinations. A “yellow status” public health order went into effect Thursday morning; the legislation will allow parks, lodging, and tour businesses to reopen among other entities at 50% maximum capacity. Some facilities, including gyms and movie theaters, remain closed.
NAU Talks Incentives For Vaccinations
Northern Arizona University officials say they’ve received comments and concerns as the institution prepares to reopen in the fall semester.
A steering committee discussed COVID-19 precautions Thursday with President José Luis Cruz Rivera. NAU says face coverings will be required only on public transit and campus health facilities after Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order prohibiting mask mandates at public universities.
University officials say they’ll begin experimenting with incentives to further encourage vaccination among students. Capacity restrictions will also be eliminated on campus locations, and a quarantine space will be established.
Campfire Reports Low Over Holiday Weekend
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office says it received eight calls over the Fourth of July weekend concerning fire-related activity; CCSO issued just one illegal campfire citation.
Officials say nearly 300 calls were received related to forest and community patrols, a category including boating, off-road vehicle, and fire restriction violations. Area forests remained closed over the Fourth of July weekend due to increased wildfire activity; forests have since reopened, shifting to Stage II restrictions.