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Eastern Arizona College students will not be getting a spring break in March, but they will be getting a few extra long weekends.

Susan Wood, vice president of academic and student affairs, said the EAC board recently voted to change next year's schedule to limit the chances of spreading COVID-19. 

As a result of the board's move, students will now have Friday, March 19 off along with April 2 and April 5, May 28 and July 2.

Commencement will also be May 7, a week early, Wood said.

Cancelling spring break will hopefully "disincentivize" trips out of the country, but the extra long weeks should give students and faculty much deserved time off, she said.

On Friday Graham County recorded an additional 30 cases of COVID-19, extending the total number of cases diagnosed since March to 1,007.

According to the state health department, the county's positivity rate was 12.5 percent as of Sept. 27, the latest statistic available. According to AZDHS, that rate was the highest in the state. As of Sept. 27 the state's positivity rate was 9.9 percent.

The vast majority of COVID-19 patients continue to be in the 20-44 age group, followed by people under 20. There have been 429 patients in the former age group and 217 in the latter.

Of the county's total cases, 750 have recovered and 26 have died.

Another Greenlee County resident was diagnosed with the virus Thursday, bringing the number of cases in that county to 67. Of those, 57 have recovered and two have died.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 738 new cases Friday and 17 deaths.

As of Thursday, 747 Arizonans with the virus were hospitalized, 167 in ICU.

The U.S. has diagnosed nearly 8 million COVID-19 cases and just under 217,000 deaths.

Back in August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported 5 million COVID-19 cases and more than 180,000 deaths compared to 35 million cases of the flu in 2018-2019 and 34,157 deaths.

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The CDC is reporting the number of deaths in the U.S. through September is at least 10 percent higher than it would have been if the coronavirus pandemic had never happened. 

The CDC, however, only estimates deaths from the flu based on in-hospital deaths and death certificate data. COVID-19-related deaths are not estimates, they are being tracked closely.

According to a National Public Radio story released Friday, the CDC is also reporting the number of deaths in the U.S. through September is at least 10 percent higher than it would have been if the coronavirus pandemic had never happened. 

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