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FLORENCE — Pinal County is “moving in the right direction” on COVID-19 testing, County Manager Louis Andersen told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday.

For the week of Sept. 27, 5% of those tested were found to be positive, and on Oct. 4 positive tests were down to 3%. Information on scheduling a test at one of the county’s free testing sites, at the Florence Community Center and Len Colla Recreation Center in Casa Grande, is found on the public health website. These locations are providing results sometimes in 24 hours or less, Andersen told the board.

On Thursday the county reported 60 new cases and two deaths, well below the daily average a month ago. The county has now reported 10,919 total cases and 214 deaths due to the virus.

Public Health Administrator Kore Redden is a member of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination task force. As county staff receive more information on progress toward a vaccine, they will pass that information on to the board and the public, Andersen said.

He further reported that Pinal County public health clinics are providing free flu shots during regular hours. Residents may call 1-866-960-0633 to make an appointment. The Casa Grande clinic will also be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10; the San Tan Valley clinic will be open Saturday, Oct. 17; and a drive-thru clinic will be offered 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 24 at 450 W. Adamsville Road in Florence.

Weekend flu vaccine clinics are only available to adults over age 18. Vaccinations for children are available weekdays at Pinal County public health clinics.

Andersen further reported that new county buildings under construction are on schedule to open by early- to mid-2021. The $20 million county attorney office building is expected to be complete in July 2021; the $16 million Development Services building is on track to open in March 2021; the county complex in the city of Maricopa will partially open with the supervisor’s office in December and the courts building in February or March of 2021; the library and public safety building in San Tan Valley is on track to open in April of 2021.

With enumerators in the field, Arizona is 99.5% counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. A court order has extended counting through Oct. 31, so there’s a good chance of an almost 100% response rate, Andersen told the board.

In other business Wednesday, the board approved an ongoing annual budget increase of $49,200 for the County Assessor's Office. It will pay for Just Appraised software, which will be used to process affidavits of property value.

Pinal County Assessor Douglas Wolf told the board that contrary to expectations that business would slow down with the pandemic, his office has seen a 30% increase in property transfers and twice the number of new subdivisions over the last year.

Wolf said this software will relieve some pressure on his office, and if it doesn’t perform as expected, there’s an option to cancel it.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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