Coronavirus updates: Maricopa County Department of Public Health reports 6,681 COVID-19 cases May 15

Here are the coronavirus updates to know in Chandler. (Community Impact staff)
Here are the coronavirus updates to know in Chandler. (Community Impact staff)

Here are the coronavirus updates to know in Chandler. (Community Impact staff)

The Arizona Department of Health Services reports 13,169 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on May 15, an increase of 495 from the previous day. The death toll is now 651, an increase of 27 from the previous day.

There are now 6,681 confirmed cases in Maricopa County and 291 deaths, according to the Maricopa County Department of Health.

May 14 data update

The Arizona Department of Health Services is reporting 12,674 confirmed cases of COVID-19 May 14, an increase of 498 from the previous day. The state is also reporting 624 total coronavirus-related deaths.

Maricopa County Department of Public health is reporting 6,199 confirmed COVID-19 cases May 14, an increase of 87 cases reported from the previous day. The county is also reporting 286 virus-related deaths, an increase of 15 from the previous day. According to county data, 203 of those deaths are tied to residents in long-term care facilities.


May 13 County update

Maricopa County Department of Public Health has launched a large scaling-up of its ongoing communicable disease investigation and contact tracing program to address the increased number of cases resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and increased testing.

Public Health is adding to its standing team of 16 epidemiologist investigators who investigate infectious diseases, like mumps or pertussis, and conduct contact tracing efforts for those cases. It has reassigned qualified internal staff and doing additional hiring, including adding 14 new staff members this week.

“Thanks to a huge effort from multiple parts of Maricopa County government, we have been able to condense a hiring process from an average of 45 days to 10 days to respond our community’s needs,” Pulbic Health Executive Director Marcy Flanagan said in a release. “Our goal with this plan is to ensure that by July 1, Public Health has the capacity to contact 400-500 cases per day, seven days a week.”

When an individual tests positive for COVID-19, the department opens an investigation. Trained epidemiology investigators reach out to cases and conduct a thorough interview, which uncovers all the places and people the case was in contact with starting from 48 hours before their symptoms started.

The investigator then provides the case with detailed instructions for infection control for themselves and their household, managing their health, and when to seek additional care.

They will also be asked to enroll in a secure electronic system to track their symptoms for at least 10 days after symptoms started so Public Health can tell them when they no longer need to isolate.

“Starting as early as next week, once we receive confirmation of a positive diagnostic test, we will send cases a text message with a link to a survey that will collect their initial symptoms and provide tailored instructions to follow until they get a call from a Public Health investigator,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Public Health’s medical director for disease control, in the release. “This will ensure that the case knows to remain isolated from others and help us to expedite the investigation.”

Department investigators will not ask for personal health information or financial information through the survey. If someone receives a text asking for personal health information or financial information, people should not click any links and should not share their sensitive information.

Grand Canyon reopening

The National Park Service is set to begin reopening the Grand Canyon on a limited basis.

The South Rim’s south entrance will be reopened from 6-10 a.m. May 15-18 for limited day use accesss. Six viewpoints along East Desert View Drive will be open, two picnic areas and some restrooms will be opened.

Other areas will remain closed, including Grand Canyon Village. Commercial services are closed, and no overnight accommodations are available. Visitors must bring their own food and water and leave by the end of the day.

Grant to food banks

A $500,000 grant from the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund is being made to the Association of Arizona Food Banks/Arizona Food Bank, Gov. Doug Ducey announced May 13.

The state set up the fund to provide financial support to organizations working to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in Arizona. It has collected nearly $8.23 million to date.

Member organizations of the association supply a network of nearly 1,000 food pantries and organizations in all 15 counties in Arizona.

Case update

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported May 13 that COVID-19 confirmed cases have crossed 12,000 in the state. An additional 440 cases have brought the state to 12,176. The state has had 594 deaths from COVID-19, up 32 from the previous day.

In Maricopa County, there are 6,112 positive cases and 271 deaths as of May 13.

City moves to open further

The Chandler City Council moved May 11 to reopen the city's athletic fields and other city services beginning May 13.

Park ramadas and park amenities will be open except for basketball courts, playgrounds, splash pads and restrooms per orders from Gov. Doug Ducey and reservations and rentals will be permitted of the city's athletic fields for practices only. Additionally, the council moved to open the tennis center clubhouse.

On May 18, the Chandler Museum and Vision Gallery will open with limited capacity. Also on May 18, the city will begin household hazardous waste collection by appointment, customer service counters by appointment and code enforcement in residential areas.

On May 28, the Chandler City Council meetings will open to in-person audience attendance, with a limit of 50 people. Scheduled and unscheduled appearances will also resume. An overflow area will be available in the lobby of the council chambers.

The council delayed opening a number of city facilities until guidelines or an executive order from the governor is issued related to gym facilities and pools. Once guidelines or an executive order come, the following facilities could open:

  • Environmental Education Center, Community Center and Snedigar Recreation Center for summer recreation programs and classes of small groups of 10 or fewer people

  • Chandler Public Libraries at 25% capacity with reduced services to comply with social distancing guidelines

  • Tumbleweed Recreation Center with limited areas available and programs offered

  • Park amenities covered under the governor's executive order including basketball courts, playgrounds, splash pads and restrooms

  • Nozomi, Mesquite Groves and Desert Oasis for lap swimming and Aqua Fit classes


Casinos plan to open

Gila River Gaming Enterprises, Inc. announced the reopening of Gila River Hotels & Casinos—Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva on May 15 at noon, according to a news release. The two hotels will remain closed, slated to reopen June 15, according to the release.

“To ensure the continued health and safety of our guests and employees, the enterprise has significantly modified the operations and gaming floors to achieve safety procedures above the recommended guidelines,” said Kenneth Manuel, Chief Executive Officer of Gila River Hotels & Casinos, in a release. “These changes include restrictions on the number of seats per table games and bingo sessions, redesigned slot floors, and plexiglass partitions. We have taken every prudent measure and precaution to create a safe and clean environment.”

Gila River Hotels & Casinos, in partnership with Steward Health Care, has required all employees to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to work. Retesting will occur every two weeks to ensure that employees who are working are testing negative, according to the release.

May 12 data

The Arizona Department of Health Services is reporting 11,736 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Tuesday, May 12—that is 356 more than the previous day. The state also reports 562 deaths, an increase of 20 deaths from the previous day. The state is also reporting 159,082 COVID-19 tests completed statewide.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is reporting 6,011 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 248 virus-related deaths.

May 11 update

The Arizona Department of Health Services is reporting 11,380 cases of COVID-19 in the state on May 11, 261 more than the previous day. It also reports 543 deaths, a one-day increase of six.

Maricopa County is reporting 5,915 cases and 240 deaths on May 11

Updates from last week

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 10,526 COVID-19 confirmed cases across the state May 8, an increase of 581 from the previous day. The state also reported 517 virus-related deaths, an increase of 67 from the previous day. Health services officials said in a tweet that 35 of the new deaths are from death certificates dating back to the week of April 12.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health reported 5,288 confirmed COVID-19 cases May 8 and 228 deaths due to the virus.

May 7 update

Arizona has 9,945 cases on May 7, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, an increase of 238 from the previous day. There have been 450 deaths, 24 more than the previous day.

Maricopa County reported 5,042 positive COVID-19 cases and 198 deaths on May 7.

May 6 update

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved spending guidelines to disperse more than $398 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) during 2020, according to a news release from the county.

The money is intended to cover expenditures related to the public health emergency that were not already included in this year’s budget, according to the news release. Already, the county has spent some CARES Act dollars on personal protective equipment, hiring extra medical personnel, disinfection and sanitation services and mitigating the spread of disease among vulnerable populations, according to the county.

“This amount of money gives us the ability to enhance our services and help many people in our County,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Clint Hickman, in a news release. “But we are at the beginning of a long fight against this disease and have to be responsible and prepare for unforeseen needs.”

The county has continued to increase funding for COVID-19 concerns by placing orders of personal protective equipment, hiring more contact tracing investigators and leasing and staffing space to house at-risk people experiencing homelessness.

“We have spent close to $9 million in little more than a month on programs specific to COVID-19, and fully expect spending to accelerate as we meet increasing needs for testing and contact tracing in the community,” Hickman said. “This is what the federal money was meant for.”

Case number updates

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health reported 125 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, May 6, bringing the county total to 4,866. The county also reported seven new COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the county death toll to 182. Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 9,707 COVID-19 cases May 6 and 426 virus-related deaths.

May 5 update

Maricopa County Department of Public health reported 4,741 COVID-19 cases Tuesday, May 5 and 175 virus-related deaths, increases of 123 cases and seven deaths. Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 9,305 COVID-19 cases, up 386 from the previous day, and 386 total deaths, an increase of 33.

May 4 updates

The city of Chandler public library system announced Monday, May 4 that all the city's libraries would open for holds pickup services this week. The pickup for items on hold is available weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to the city. More information on the process is available at https://www.chandlerlibrary.org/holdpick-faq.

Case number updates

Maricopa County Department of Public health reported 4,618 COVID-19 cases Monday, May 4 and 168 virus-related deaths. Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 8,919 COVID-19 cases and 362 total deaths.


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