Here is what Gilbert residents need to know right now about the coronavirus outbreak

coronavirus, COVID-19
Schools, cities, counties and states are making adjustments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Schools, cities, counties and states are making adjustments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Updated April 5 10:46 p.m.

The coronavirus is affecting the entire world, including the town of Gilbert. Here are the Gilbert, Maricopa County and statewide updates that residents need to know.

This story will be frequently updated with outbreak-related news and links to other in-depth coverage.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1318, with 31 deaths reported, according to Maricopa County Public Health. Statewide, the number of confirmed cases is 2,269 with 64 confirmed deaths.

Updated April 4 1:11 p.m.

Saturday case count

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1173, according to Maricopa County Public Health. The number of COVID-19 deaths in the county is now at 28, up from 17 the previous. Statewide, the number of confirmed cases is 2,019.

Updated April 3 5:11 p.m.

Governor clarifies essential services

Gov. Doug Ducey announced changes to what are considered essential businesses and services. Barbers, cosmetology, hairstyling, nail salons and aesthetic salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, spas and massage parlors are ordered to close by 5 p.m. April 4.

In addition, amenities at public parks that do not allow for recommended physical distancing or proper hygiene such as basketball courts, splash pads, playgrounds and public restrooms will be forced to close by 5 p.m. April 4, but public parks shall remain open to the greatest extent possible.

Communal pools such as those at hotels, condominiums, apartment complexes and parks should still be maintained under environmental and public health rules and guidelines, according to the governor's office.

Childcare for essential workers

Gov. Ducey also launched “Arizona Enrichment Centers” starting April 6 to offer childcare for the children of first responders, critical healthcare workers and essential public sector workers, including child safety workers.

City-by-city counts

While Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said in video messages April 2-3 that the town is pushing for case counts specific to it, the county continues to decline to give them.

"The Board of Supervisors are not getting reports of case numbers by city," a county spokesperson wrote in an email replying to a Community Impact Newspaper query for such counts. "For this widespread virus, Public Health is not reporting cases by city. Tracking deaths and positive COVID-19 cases by city is not an effective way to respond to the disease or efficient use of tracking resources. It can give a false sense of safety or a false sense of danger. Everyone should assume they can come in contact with COVID-19 at this time and take precautions as outlined by ADHS."

Updated April 3 9:42 a.m

Case count

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1,050, according to Maricopa County Public Health. The number of deaths in the county related to the virus is now at 17. Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 1,769 COVID-19 cases and 41 deaths.

Updated April 2 4:48 p.m.

Mayor Jenn Daniels said in her April 2 video message she wants the state to release numbers on COVID-19 cases to the town or by zip code.

“I want you to know I am pushing really hard on the state to be releasing that information to us,” she said. “I think it’s really important and valuable, and I’d like for us to be able to utilize that.

She also urged people who are not feeling well to stay at home, calling it a “mobilization effort.”

“When you are mobilizing at home, you actually are doing a huge service to the community by making sure that you are keeping the spread of this [down] and flattening the curve,” she said.

Pharmacy refills

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order April 2 allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of maintenance medications for a 90-day supply and an additional 90-day supply if needed, without a doctor’s visit.

Town Hall simulcast with Ducey

TV and radio stations across Arizona will simulcast a live hourlong interview with Gov. Ducey at 6 p.m. April 2 from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. More than 50 stations are expected to broadcast it live.

Higley USD cuts back on meal service sites

Higley USD will use six sites to distribute meals through its free meal service for children under 18 years of age, three in the morning and three in the afternoon. The sites are:

  • Chaparral Elementary School, 3380 E. Frye Road, Gilbert, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Cortina Elementary School, 19680 S. 188th St., Queen Creek, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Higley Traditional Academy, 3391 E. Vest Ave., Gilbert, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Centennial Elementary School, 3507 S. Ranch House Parkway, Gilbert, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Power Ranch Elementary School, 4351 S. Ranch House Parkway, Gilbert, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Williams Field High School, 2076 S. Higley Road, Gilbert, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

PPE supply donations

Maricopa County Department of Public Health has implemented a donation management program for Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, needed by those providing health care.

The program allows for individuals and/or organizations who have a supply of materials commonly used by healthcare to donate it at the reception area of the donations warehouse at 1645 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SRP elections

Power and water public utility Salt River Project will hold its 2020 elections April 7 by utilitizing ballot dropoff at the SRP Administration Building, 1500 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, as well as drive-thru voting. The elections will fill 22 seats on the board and council of the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, and 20 seats on the board and council of the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association.

Updated April 2 9:30 a.m.

Case count

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 964, according to Maricopa County Public Health. There was a death reported April 2, brining the county total to 12 fatalities due to the coronavirus. Statewide, there have been 32 coronavirus-related deaths reported. As of April 2, the statewide case total was 1,598.
Grand Canyon closed

The Grand Canyon National Park closed April 1 after a recommendation from Coconino County Health and Human Services.

Updated April 1 6:17 p.m.

Personal-services businesses eligible for relief

Businesses like salons and barber shops and other such personal services have been identified as essential services, but if they choose to close they remain eligible for disaster relief, Mayor Jenn Daniels said in her video message for April 1.

"You may choose to close, and you are eligible for stimulus programs and some of the additional programs that have been made available by the federal government if you make that decision," Daniels said.

No curfew

Daniels said Gov. Doug Ducey's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected" order went into effect at 5 p.m. March 31 but does not indicate a 5 p.m. curfew. Essential services remain available.

Governor's actions

Gov. Doug Ducey wrote President Donald Trump on April 1 to request a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration from the federal government—a procedural step to acquire federal assets and resources to assist Arizona’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Ducey also issued and executive order allowing pets and animals in Arizona to be examined by their veterinarians through telemedicine, ensuring pet owners don’t have to leave their home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ducey also requested U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to assist Arizona’s dairy farmers by finding solutions to restart the international export of Arizona dairy products to Mexico.

County suspends in-person recording services

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office suspended counter availability at the Phoenix and Mesa location starting March 31. Kiosk locations throughout Maricopa County will also be temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Digital recording customers and those with established electronic filing accounts will see no interruption in services received. Documents also can be mailed

Updated April 1 9:55 a.m.

Case count

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 873, with 11 total deaths reported, according to data from Maricopa County Public Health. Statewide, the number of cases is now 1,413.

The number of deaths in Maricopa County reported through March 31 was 8.
Updated March 31 6:15 p.m.

Higley USD Kids Camp canceled

Higley USD announced March 31 that it would end its Kids Camp program at close of business April 3 in accordance with Gov. Doug Ducey’s “increased directions to the community.” It directed those who still need childcare to the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence to see more options.

GPS extracurriculars, graduation

Gilbert Public Schools posted on its website that with schools closing for the remainder of the year, all field trips and extracurricular activities are canceled.

Among a host of updates, the district also acknowledged graduation is a concern of many. “Please be assured we are looking at all possibilities and will be communicating updates as soon as possible,” the district posted.

County parks restrictions

The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department has cut back on operating hours at its parks and implemented other restrictions to ease crowding on trails and help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Town looking at essential services

Mayor Jenn Daniels said in her video message for March 31 that the town is looking for clarifications from the governor’s office on what has been classified as an essential service, including salons, barber shops, nail salons and lash extension places.

“There’s a lot of confusion,” Daniels said. “You can’t do those particular services from 6 feet away.”

She also mentioned getting clarifications on golf courses as well as child care facilities vs. what the governor termed “enrichment centers.”

Planning Commission

The Gilbert Planning Commission meeting for April 1 is closed to public attendance but will be shown on Cox Cable local access Channel 11 and live streamed on the town website.

The agenda can be found here.

Updated March 31 9:26 a.m.

Case count

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 791, according to Maricopa County Public Health. That number is up from 689 the previous day. Statewide, there are 1,289 cases of coronavirus.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Maricopa County is now 8, up from 5 the previous day. Updated March 6:17 p.m.

Governor tells Arizonans to stay home
Gov. Doug Ducey issued a "Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected" order for Arizonans throughout the state.

Order's effect on parks

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said in her March 30 video message that park amenities remain closed but reminded residents that park open spaces and walking trails remain open for use after the governor's order.

"Exercise is still allowable," Daniels said. "We still know that fresh air and walking and maybe running on a field is all good for us, so please continue to do that but maintain the 6-foot physical and social distancing that we're being asked to comply with. It's so important to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Business issues

Addressing business owners in the video, Daniels said the town expects guidance from the governor's office by week's end about Transaction Privilege Tax remittal payment extensions as well as finding alternative ways to do notary service.

Banner seeking medical supplies

The Banner Health Foundation is collecting donated medical supplies and personal protective equipment in partnership with Project C.U.R.E. in Tempe.

Updated March 30 12:17 p.m.

Aid for homeless shelters, food banks

Gov. Doug Ducey announced March 30 a $6.75 million aid package for food banks and homeless services. Of that, $5 million will go to help homeless shelters slow the spread of COVID-19 and $1 million to immediate food bank assistance.

Eviction, foreclosure protection

In addition, the governor announced an agreement with the state’s banks to protect small businesses and families from eviction and foreclosure.

Banks also committed to expediting the application and approval of small business loans as part of the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program passed by Congress and signed into law last week.

Under the agreement, banks are suspending evictions and foreclosures for at least 60 days, with the potential to extend that period for the duration of the state’s emergency declaration.

Updated March 30 8:10 a.m.

School closures

Gov. Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced March 30 that the state is closing schools for the remainder of the year because of continued coronavirus concerns.

Case count

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 689. One week ago, the case count was 139. On March 29, the case count was 546. Five deaths have been reported in the county, but no new deaths were reported March 30. Earlier updates

Information from March 27-29 can be found here.

Information from March 24-26 can be found here.

Information from March 20-23 can be found here.

Information from March 12-20 can be found here.

Community Impact Newspaper Editor Alexa D'Angelo contributed to this report.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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