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Pima County officials are hoping they get lucky enough to overcome vaccine hesitancy by setting up mobile vaccination sites at the Desert Diamond and Casino del Sol this weekend.

Pima County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are teaming up to launch mobile vaccination units this weekend to reach vulnerable communities with high risks of COVID-19 exposure and infection.

The operation includes two mobile vaccination units, able to administer 250 vaccines per day each, along with administrative staff and federal vaccinators with 70 personnel from FEMA, Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Labor, according to a county press release.

The units will run through June 26, operating at two concurrent locations for three days, with one day to tear down and move to the next location. The locations were selected based on census tract data and the Social Vulnerability Index of the area to identify highly vulnerable communities.

The sites will offer walk-up vaccinations of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those 18 and older on a first-come, first-served basis. Vaccinators will return to the same mobile site 28 days after their first visit to receive their second dose, following CDC guidance. Help will be available to all who need assistance with mobility, language or other accommodations.

Here are the planned mobile clinics:

May 7-9, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road
  • Desert Diamond Casino, 7350 S. Nogales Hwy.

May 11-13, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Greyhound Park, 2601 S. Third Ave.
  • Wheeler Taft Library, 7800 N. Schisler Drive

May 15-17, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave.
  • Curtis Park, 2110 W. Curtis Road

At other vaccination sites, Pima County officials are shifting to indoor vaccination sites to avoid making staff and volunteers endure long days in triple-degree temperatures.

Tucson Medical Center has transferred its operations to the Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. The site is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Register at https://vaccine.tmcaz.com/MyChart/OpenScheduling.

Pima County has opened a new indoor vaccine site at the Kino Event Center, where the county had earlier been doing COVID testing. That site is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Register at azdhs.gov.

The county has also opened an indoor vaccination POD at El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

The drive-through POD at Banner-South Kino Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way, is now offering appointments between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and will close permanently on May 14.

In a separate partnership, the county will team up with the Northwest YMCA, 7770 N. Shannon Road, to offer a vaccination clinic from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 10.

Visit pima.gov/covid19vaccine for more details.

The UA vaccination point of distribution is now accepting anyone over the age of 16 who comes in for a shot.

The POD, which is scheduled to close at the end of June, offers a sit-down clinic in the Ina E. Gittings Building (1737 E. University Blvd.) from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

If you’d rather schedule an appointment, the state is expected to open new first-dose appointments daily at podvaccine.azdhs.gov. Call 602-542-1000 or 844-542-8201 for help in English or Spanish.

If you need help, call the COVID Ambassador Team hotline at 520-848-4045 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily or email covidhelp@arizona.edu.

CVS pharmacies are now accepting same-day COVID-19 vaccination appointments, and at some locations no appointment is necessary.

About 190 locations in Arizona are taking walk-ins, but appointments are also available within an hour of scheduling.

“We continue to orchestrate an all-out effort to vaccinate the nation against COVID-19,” said CVS Health President and CEO Karen S. Lynch. “Thanks to the dedication and effort of our colleagues, I am proud to say we helped achieve the President’s accelerated 100-day goal of 200 million vaccines and have administered over 17 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to date.”

Walgreens announced it would offer same-day appointments at locations across the country as of this week. Patients can schedule appointments up to 30 minutes before the desired appointment time.

While Walgreens continues to encourage appointments, a Walgreens corporate spokesperson said, walk-ins have and continue to be accepted “if a time slot is available,” across all 8,800 Walgreens stores offering vaccinations.

Despite the increasing availability of vaccine doses, the rate of vaccinations continues to decline across the nation, with 246,440 vaccines administered in Arizona during the week of April 25. That was down from 344,055 doses the week before. With 2,368,154 fully vaccinated individuals in the state, about 32.9% of Arizonans are fully vaccinated.

As of Friday, May72, 408,184 people in Pima County had received at least one shot of the virus, accounting for 39.1% of the population. A total of 337,384 people were fully vaccinated.

Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing

Pima County is continuing to offer a number of testing centers and pop-up testing sites around town, including the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road. Schedule an appointment at pima.gov/covid19testing.

The University of Arizona’s antibody testing can determine if you have had COVID and now have antibodies. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.

Today’s numbers

With 820 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases rose past 867,000 as of Friday, May 7, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 41 new cases today, has seen 115,607

of the state’s 867,443 confirmed cases.

With 24 new deaths reported this morning, a total of 17,391 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 2,399 deaths in Pima County, according to the May 7 report.

A total of 666 coronavirus patients were in the hospital as of May 7. That’s roughly 13% of the number hospitalized at the peak of the winter surge, which reached 5,082 on Jan. 12. The summer peak was 3,517, which was set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent lowest number of hospitalized COVID patients was 468, set on Sept. 27, 2020.

A total of 965 people visited emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on May 6. That number represents 41% of the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. That number had peaked during the summer wave at 2,008 on July 7, 2020; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28, 2020.

A total of 182 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on May 5, which roughly 15% of the record 1,183 ICU patients set on Jan. 11. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22, 2020.

—with additional reporting from Christina Duran, Jeff Gardner and Mike Truelsen