PHOENIX (AP) – Unemployed Arizona workers who lost their jobs after the coronavirus pandemic hit and have been receiving extra benefits for the last several weeks will see their pay drop to the standard $240 after this week.
The Department of Economic Security announced Friday that six weeks of extra $300 payments will end Saturday.
The payments boosted the state’s second-lowest-in the-nation unemployment benefits. It was put in place under an executive order from President Donald Trump after a congressionally-approved $600 per week extra payment ended in late July.
Congress is deadlocked on a new coronavirus relief package that could add new emergency benefits.
About 392,000 people were receiving unemployment benefits in the week ending Aug. 29. They included those who lost regular jobs or self-employed people eligible under a special federal program.
That’s up from about 17,500 before the pandemic hit in March and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey began ordering businesses to close to contain the spread of the virus.
The DES annoucement came as state health officials reported 521 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15 more known deaths.
The state Department of Health Services released new figures showing the number of coronavirus cases statewide since the pandemic broke out now stands at 207,523 with a death toll of 5,288.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations, including ventilator usage and intensive care unit beds, continue to drop to levels not seen since April.
Arizona was a national virus hotspot in June and July. But in the last two weeks, its rolling average number of daily new cases has decreased by 115.7, a decline of 21%, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
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