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 1,957, according to health officials. The death toll is now 48, with one new reported death from yesterday to today. Statewide, there are 3,539 cases with 115 deaths reported.
Updated April 11 5:56 p.m.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1,886, according to the county department of public health. The county also reported six new virus-related deaths, bringing the county death toll to 47. Statewide, 3,393 cases were reported with 108 total deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced that the state has secured 100 additional ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile. These ventilators will be shipped to Arizona's staging area and deployed to the state's critical need areas, including tribal nations.
Updated April 10 11:34 a.m.
There are 1,741 cases of COVID-19 in Maricopa County, according to data from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. The county also reported two new deaths related to the virus, bringing the county death toll to 41. Statewide, there are 3,112 COVID-19 cases reported with 97 total deaths. The county is also now releasing how many coronavirus cases are tied to long term care facilities. As of April 10, there were 128 cases at long term care facilities, with 16 deaths reported.
Updated April 9 5:47 p.m.
New online resource available
Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels announced on twitter a new online tool from local faith-based communities called HELPR that connects resources with people who need them.
HELPR stands for Help Enable Local Pandemic Response and is set up for people who need help or those looking for a way to help. It includes information on job openings, food banks, child and daycare, and school food programs.
Online food purchase with SNAP
Arizonans receiving food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will be able to use benefits for online food purchases with-authorized SNAP online retailers, Walmart and Amazon, Gov. Doug Ducey announced April 9. This change will help limit social interaction for Arizona’s most vulnerable while ensuring SNAP recipients receive needed food assistance.
The new flexibility comes thanks to an approval from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, which granted Arizona’s request for online purchases and as well as additional changes to strengthen food security benefits in Arizona. The online purchasing changes are expected to start at the beginning of next month following additional guidance from the federal government.
Liability protections in health care
Ducey also issued an executive order April 9 to help boost medical staffing levels and provide certainty and liability protections to health care professionals serving on the front lines. The order provides protections to health care professionals treating patients during the COVID-19 health emergency, while also protecting patients against negligence or reckless misconduct.
Ducey further announced the reopening of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix with 339 ICU high-acuity beds, with flexibility for other uses if needed. The additional beds will serve as overflow capacity for hospitals statewide.
St. Luke’s previously shut its doors due to low patient demand in November. But with a peak in Arizona’s COVID-19 hospitalizations projected to occur in the coming weeks, the hospital was selected as a location to set up additional ICU beds with assistance from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers
HUSD meeting canceled
The Higley Unified School District governing board’s April 14 meeting has been canceled.
Updated April 9 9:29 a.m.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1,687 with two new deaths reported, bringing the death toll to 39 in Maricopa County, according to data from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Statewide, there are 3,018 coronavirus cases with 89 reported deaths. Updated April 8 9:05 p.m.
New parks restrictions for weekend
Gilbert is placing new restrictions on its parks for the Easter weekend April 11-12. Ramadas, public grills, portable grills, pop-up tents and canopies are closed and prohibited to use those days.
More localized data to be released
Arizona Department of Health Services will be releasing a new website dashboard April 12, breaking down the coronavirus data into more detailed location data, Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said in her video message April 8. The department is analyzing what unit of measure will be used, be it city or zip codes, Daniels said.
Easter Bunny still coming
Daniels also had a special announcement for Gilbert’s children: Her office has received notification that the Easter Bunny will still be coming to town April 12.
“I think they’re taking some additional precautions, and that’s really important, but we do anticipate that the Easter Bunny will still be able to come to our community,” she said. “We want to make sure kids know that.”
Help for low-income individuals, hospitals
The Arizona Department of Economic Security was awarded $9.8 million in funding from the federal government for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, Gov. Doug Ducey announced April 8. The federally funded program provides emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost to low-income individuals, including seniors.
Of the funding, $7.34 million will be dedicated to purchasing food, and $2.5 million will be used to help maximize the coordination and ability of regional food banks to store and distribute the food to program distribution sites.
Ducey also announced April 8 the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System will work with its provider partners to make available more than $50 million in accelerated hospital payments to help hospitals weather the financial storm from the coronavirus pandemic.
Remote recording available
Arizonans can get documents notarized remotely, while ensuring secure and effective verification processes under an executive order Ducey signed April 8 in partnership with Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
This measure is consistent with Remote Online Notarization, a law passed that allows signers and notaries to meet virtually that takes effect July 1, 2020. The executive order accelerates timeline for the Remote Online Notarization law that allows signers and notaries to meet virtually. That takes effect July 1, but under the order, Arizonans get the opportunity to utilize virtual notarization starting April 10.
County libraries opening up electronic content
The Maricopa County Library District facilities remain closed, but MCLD has increased the number of electronic media items card holders can check out per month. Livestream content has been increased, and parents are encouraged to visit the Library District calendar for educational content for children home from school.
The district includes the Perry and Southeast Regional libraries in Gilbert.
Updated April 8 9:43 a.m.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1,556 with two new deaths reported, bringing the death toll to 37 in Maricopa County, according to data from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Statewide, there are 2,726 coronavirus cases with 80 reported deaths.
Updated April 7 8:23 p.m.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed four executive orders April 7. One order expands healthcare reporting requirements on hospitals and health care providers to better track data needed to protect health care workers and patients and help slow the spread of COVID-19. The additional data will include the number of ICU beds and ventilators in use for COVID-19 patients, the number of suspected COVID-19 patients visiting emergency rooms and the estimated amount of PPE used per day, in addition to other items.
Another executive order signed April 7 allows Arizona restaurants to repackage and sell grocery items they have on hand, including items not normally packaged and labeled for resale.
Yet another order was signed that calls for enhancing and reinforcing health protection in Arizona residential care institutions, nursing care institutions and related health care facilities. The order requires all staff to use appropriate personal protective equipment, implement symptom checks for those entering the facility, and offer electronic communication if visitation is restricted and more.
The final order calls for an increase in quarantine guidelines for out-of-state travelers entering Arizona. Under the order, anyone who travels to Arizona from an area with substantial community spread through any airport in the state must isolate or quarantine themselves upon arrival for 14 days.
Updated April 7 8:34 a.m.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1,494, according to Maricopa County Public Health. The county also reported an additional 4 deaths due to the virus, bringing the county total to 35. Statewide, there are 2,575 coronavirus cases with 73 deaths reported, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Updated April 6 4:27 p.m.
Governor halts small-business, nonprofit evictions
Gov. Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order April 6 halting evictions in the state for small businesses and nonprofits that are unable to pay rent due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the order, evictions will be halted until May 31.
The order also encourages commercial landlords to defer rent payments for small business tenants facing economic hardship due to COVID-19 and consider waiving all fees and interest associated with late payments.
The order builds on previous actions to delay the enforcement of eviction action orders for renters impacted by COVID-19. In addition, on March 30, Ducey announced a cooperative agreement with the state’s banks to protect small businesses and families from eviction and foreclosure.
Town monitoring hospitals
Mayor Jenn Daniels said in her video address of April 6 the town has been staying in touch with its local hospitals through the coronavirus pandemic.
“All indications are that we are in good place for our community,” she said.
Face mask coordination
Daniels urged residents to wear masks now that the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services were recommending it. She said the town is looking for ways to help people already making masks to share them with friends and neighbors. Daniels said the town is looking to do that through faith groups
National guard in town
Daniels said the National Guard is in town this week helping restock grocery stores and food banks.
Higley USD wellness page
The Higley USD has set up a wellness page on its website to support families give support to their children.
Updated April 6 9:31 a.m. The number of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is now 1,433, according to Maricopa County Public Health. The county reported 31 coronavirus-related deaths April 6, with no change reported in the death toll from April 5. Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 2,456 COVID-19 cases and 65 coronavirus-related deaths. Arizona to get more disaster relief
Gov. Doug Ducey announced April 4 that President Trump, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved Arizona’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for the state. The declaration makes available additional federal assets and resources to aid Arizona’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Information from March 30-April 5 can be found here.
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.