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A place for updates on the pandemic.

Wear a mask everyone!

Banner Photo: Chairman Ramon Valazez, left, and Clerk of the Board Julie Castaneda listen to seven people who spoke before the emergency meeting on Dec. 4, 2020. 


Mask mandates in Arizona? No

I received an email today from a reader: 

"I was in a store in Tucson yesterday & they claimed the Governor was going to start requiring masks again so they were initiating that requirement.  Have you heard anything about that?"

I replied: 

"No, the Arizona Health Department director said today (in a blog post) that eight of Arizona's 15 counties have high COVID transmission rates and recommends indoor masking in public places. Nothing mandated.




The Tucson mayor made the best decision by requiring vaccinations for city workers who work with populations at places that are at greater risk of Covid infections, prisons and healthcare or elderly homes. They also should be wearing masks at those facilities to mitigate the spread of Covid to at risk populations. It's the humanitarian way to act.


County ends COVID-19 vaccination requirement for workers

Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy, who represents District 4, speaks during a regular board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20. (Pima County)
Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy, who represents District 4, speaks during a regular board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20. (Pima County)

On Tuesday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to end its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for employees and to eliminate a health insurance surcharge that has been in place for about a year. 

To incentivize "a highly vaccinated workforce,” workers that stay up to date with annual COVID-19 booster vaccinations will receive an additional 16 hours of paid leave.

Pima County Test to Treat Program

The Pima County Health Department is continuing to offer its free COVID-19 Test to Treat program next week.

Head here to learn more about the program, which offers COVID-19 treatments and therapeutics.

Screenshot from the Pima County Health Department website
Screenshot from the Pima County Health Department website

As of Sept. 16, the Health Department has started more than 1,600 people on oral medication through its Test to Treat program.

What are your thoughts on the county ending its COVID-19 vaccination requirement and its effort to incentivize county workers to get booster vaccinations?


COVID-19 guidelines eased in county and nationwide

Pima County is now at a “low" COVID-19 community level, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to consider COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the capacity of the county’s healthcare system. 

According to CDC data as of August 11, Pima County’s COVID-19 case rate was about 191 per 100,000 – down about 7% from the previous week  – and new COVID-19 hospital admissions are around 6.2 per 100,000 residents. 

The updated COVID-19 community level data in Pima county coincides with new guidance from the CDC, which includes less emphasis on social distancing. To read the press release from the CDC regarding revisions to pandemic guidance, head here. For more COVID-19 case data in the county, visit here

According to Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, MMWR author, "This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”

What are your thoughts on how far we have come since the beginning of the pandemic?