WCH confirms 5 positive tests

Wickenburg Community Hospital has confirmed five positive tests for COVID-19 as of Monday, May 19. Though these positive tests were conducted at the hospital or its clinics, WCH cannot say where those patients reside.

“We cannot confirm patient zip codes due to privacy laws and confidentiality,” said Brenda Crissman, WCH public information officer. “The State Health Department publishes confirmed COVID-19 cases by zip code, which include all Arizona testing facilities, including Wickenburg Community Hospital and Clinics. We receive positive and negative test results only for patients who have been tested in our clinics, emergency room or inpatient unit.”

ADHS reported there has been between 1-5 individuals in Wickenburg who have confirmed positive tests. Wittmann has 15 confirmed cases, Morristown and Aguila are in the 1-5 range, and Congress and Yarnell have zero positive tests.

“Our Health Care Team has fully expected to see COVID-positive cases since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jim Tavary, WCH president and CEO. “We have the capacity and the capability to properly diagnose and treat COVID-positive patients without placing the community at a greater risk of exposure.”

Maricopa County reported 7,340 individuals with positive tests, and Yavapai County reported 267. That’s an increase of 1,425 cases for Maricopa and 87 for Yavapai counties over the past week. The state of Arizona increased its positive test count by 2,790 to 14,170 in the same time period, and deaths in Arizona went from 542 to 683.

Town declines prosecution

Wickenburg’s Town Attorney Eileen McGuire emailed a letter to the owners of Bedoian’s Bakery & Bistro, Deb’s Horseshoe Café, and Lydia’s La Canasta’s attorney on May 13 that stated the Town would not be pursuing charges against the businesses for conducting dine-in operations in violation of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Orders 2020-09 and 2020-33.

McGuire’s letter to attorney Anthony Ramirez of Warnock Mackinlay Law of Scottsdale said, “Wickenburg has determined it will decline prosecution for violation of the Executive Order by your clients. We urge your clients to incorporate the governor’s guidelines in opening their respective restaurants for dine in service.”

After the town attorney issued the warning letters May 8, the governor’s office told the Town it was beginning to face constitutional challenges from around the state that would not be settled for months, according to McGuire’s letter to Ramirez. McGuire went on to say that “the governor’s office has updated its instruction and recommendations to the communities regarding enforcement,” which led the Town to decline pressing charges.

Wickenburg Mayor Rui Pereira said in a statement that the Town was relying upon the guidance and direction from the governor’s office and the executive orders it issued. The mayor said he and the Town’s staff were actively involved with the governor’s office. Ducey caught the mayor and Town off guard with his apparent reversal.

“The governor clearly stated on TV during his press conference that the executive orders were enforceable, and he clearly stated the penalties for not complying,” Pereira said. “For whatever reasons, he later decided a more lenient approach would be the best course of action. He has put mayors and other officials in very difficult situations.”

Town begins reopening

Town of Wickenburg has reopened some of its facilities and services “for residents to use at their own risk and own pace with physical distancing and CDC guidelines in place.

• May 16 - playgrounds, pickleball courts, basketball courts, tennis courts and ramadas

• May 16 - public bathroom facilities located at Town Hall and

at Coffinger, Maguire, Boetto and Sunset Parks

• May 18 – Town Hall and the Public Service Center

• May 18 – facility rentals for gatherings of 10 or less with

appropriate physical distancing measures in place

• June 1 – Wickenburg Municipal Swimming Pool with limited operations of “Lap Swim Only” while in Phase I.

The splash pad at Sunset Park will remain closed until further notice. The Town is actively developing protocols that will facilitate the reopening of the splash pad while still supporting physical distancing measures and following all CDC guidelines.

The Wickenburg Public Library and Learning Center will remain closed until further notice but will implement a “Curbside Pickup” option starting on Monday, May 18. For more information on how the process works, visit the library’s Facebook by searching “Wickenburg Public Library” or on the  Town’s website at https://www.ci.wickenburg.az.us/76/Library.

Town Council Meetings will be closed to the public while in Phase I of the White House Guidelines for Reopening, but continue to be accessible via technology-based solutions. For more information, visit http://wickenburgaz.org/.

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