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Arizona Outdoor COVID-19 Vaccine Site In Chandler To Become Indoor Drive-Thru In Mesa Warehouse

An outdoor state-run COVID-19 mass vaccination site in Chandler will be replaced April 5 by a drive-thru operation inside a large business warehouse in Mesa in advance of approaching hot weather, the Department of Health Services announced Friday.

The vaccination site now run at Chandler-Gilbert Community College will use 30,000 square feet of a 500,000-square-foot distribution center belonging to Dexcom Inc.

The site switch will maintain the state's vaccination program's presence in southeastern Maricopa County while protecting staff, volunteers and people getting vaccinated, Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement.

In other moves to prepare for summer heat, the 24-hour site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale will convert to overnight operations only and additional indoor sites are being sought, the department said.

People who received first doses at the Chandler-Gilbert facility on or after March 14 have been scheduled for their second doses at the Dexcom site, which will operate 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, the department said.

The Arizona Department of Health Services added nearly 83,000 vaccine appointments on Friday at 11 a.m. for anyone 16 years or older for several state-run sites. Most of the appointments went quickly, with only a few remaining spots leftover at State Farm Stadium and Yuma by Friday afternoon.

The Department of Health Services plans to open new appointments at each of the state sites every Friday. It encourages residents to keep trying to schedule an appointment throughout the week.

Every Wednesday, the department will announce the number of appointments available at each of the state sites on its Twitter and Facebook page.

In another development, Arizona on Friday reported 571 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 24 more deaths as the number of virus-related hospitalizations remained fairly stable.

There were 626 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient rooms as of Thursday, down from 628 as of Wednesday but only a fraction of the pandemic high of 5,082 on Jan. 11, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard.

The state's pandemic totals increased to 838,558 cases and 16,898 deaths.

The additional cases reported Friday was four times as many as on Thursday but Arizona's seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases and daily deaths declined over the past two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The daily new cases rolling average dropped from 1,364 on March 10 to 483 on Wednesday while the daily deaths rolling average deaths dropped from 46 to 33.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Currently, more than 1 million Arizonans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which represents fewer than 30% of residents. It is estimated that about 80% are needed to reach herd immunity.

Residents can book their appointments online at podvaccine.azdhs.gov or by calling 844-542-8201. For more information regarding all vaccination sites across Arizona, visit azhealth.gov/findvaccine.

Arizona Coronavirus Cases, Deaths

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Autriya Maneshni joined KJZZ as an intern in January 2021. She is a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, majoring in journalism with a psychology minor. She moved to Arizona from Iran when she was 9 years old and would listen to KJZZ every morning on her way to school. She is thrilled to be working for the station that means so much to her. Maneshni loves radio and podcasts and decided to pursue both of those passions at Cronkite. She currently hosts an Iranian music radio show called “Foreign Fusion” on Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. She made podcasts for the State Press, touching on topics of student life and COVID-19. She also wrote several articles for ASU Odyssey, covering everything from news to mental health advice. In her free time, you can find Maneshni making coffee, playing the ukulele and talking to her friends. She also takes pride in her huge Chuck Taylor Converse shoe collection that keeps growing over the years. Maneshni hopes to someday become an anchor for a local radio or television station. She would like to go to graduate school in New York City and also gain field experience there.