PHOENIX — The number of coronavirus cases in Arizona has now risen to more than 500 with eight dead, health officials said Thursday.
The Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed that 508 cases have now been reported. More than half are in Maricopa County. All but two eastern counties — Gila and Greenlee — now have cases.
The number of cases reported in Pinal County was 35, up from 23 reported on Wednesday.
The Pinal County Health Department no longer provides daily press releases on the number of confirmed cases.
James Daniels, Pinal County director of communications, said the county's data runs behind what the state can provide in a daily update.
"The number of positives coming via commercial testing is far outweighing testing by Public Health and we don't get the information directly from commercial testing, it goes to the State Health Department, then our Public Health team has to track down the info," Daniels said in an email. "So for example, where the State number released at 9 am today shows 35 cases, I'm only seeing data for 30 right now."
He said it also becomes difficult to keep track of case conditions as patients recover, "especially those, thankfully like most of ours, that are self-isolating and recovering at home."
Instead the county may send out periodic press releases with health reminders to the community, and resources, such as advice and links for businesses and workforce.
"We won't be listing cases one by one," Daniels said. "As numbers increase, we are not sure what benefit that would provide."
The county is looking into providing a chart on its website that can be updated with line-by-line demographic numbers of cases so far.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced Thursday a cooperative agreement with the state’s largest electric utilities to continue to provide reliable electricity to homes, hospitals, and businesses while making sure that Arizona residents facing financial difficulties will have choice, assistance, and reliable access to electricity.
Under the agreement, Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and six electric cooperatives have all agreed to the following:
- No customer will have power to their home shut off during the remainder of the crisis for inability to pay;
- No penalties, late fees or interest will be assessed during this time.
- The utility companies will work with their customers to provide flexible options for payment, as well as guidance and choice of rate and payment plans.
In addition, the utilities all agreed to the following innovative solutions:
- Customer service representatives will work with customers desiring to switch plans during this time if they no longer feel that their current plan is the best option for them. No customer will be required to stay in a plan that they chose under different circumstances if another one would be better for them and is approved under current regulatory rate structures. This will ensure that people have the flexibility to make the best decision for them, their family or their business.
- Customer service representatives are available for individualized service to the hospitals and health care providers during this time. While our healthcare system is being tested during this crisis, the utilities are committed to ensuring that their energy needs will be met.
- The utilities have agreed to work with one another across the state during this emergency to provide resources and coverage for one another to ensure continued reliable service. Arizonans can rest assured that the electric utility crews will work cooperatively to maintain power reliability. Resources will be available for rural cooperatives should their crews need supplementing.
Ducey met with electric utility representatives on Tuesday to discuss actions to protect customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m grateful to Arizona’s electricity providers for stepping up to protect customers during this unprecedented time,” said Ducey. “Responding to COVID-19 and supporting Arizonans impacted will require a whole-of-state approach. This agreement includes important measures to make sure families, businesses and healthcare facilities continue to have access to reliable electricity throughout this public health emergency.”