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2 Phoenix airport security lines closed due to short staff

January 8, 2022 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The federal Transportation Security Administration on Friday temporarily closed two of four security checkpoints in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s largest terminal because of staffing shortages caused by COVID-19 during the omicron wave.

The closures of the Terminal Four’s B and D checkpoints could extend wait times for departing passengers up to 30 minutes, airport and TSA officials said in a statement.

Terminal Four’s A and C checkpoints will remain open and there are no anticipated impacts to the security checkpoint at Terminal Three, the statement said.

It wasn’t clear when the closed checkpoints might reopen. Officials said Friday they would continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.

Airlines using Terminal Four include American and Southwest, the carriers with the most flights to and from Sky Harbor.

Arizona on Friday reported 30 additional COVID-19-related deaths as virus-related hospitalizations inched upward, with 2,562 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Thursday.

The state’s coronavirus dashboard on Friday also reported 14,888 additional confirmed infection cases. The daily reports of additional cases typically include cases from multiple prior dates. The state’s largest daily report of additional cases was 17,234 on Jan. 3, 2021.

According to the dashboard, Monday had Arizona’s pandemic peak of 13,533 confirmed cases from specimens collected on one date. The previous record was 12,447 on Jan. 4, 2021.

Arizona’s seven-day rolling average of new cases tripled over the past two weeks from 2,928 on Dec. 22 to 8,880 on Wednesday while the rolling average of daily deaths dropped from 71 to 59.3 during the same period, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The latest figures increased Arizona’s pandemic totals to 1,445,129 cases and 24,616 deaths.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego on Friday said she tested positive for COVID-19 but was feeling fine and was not symptomatic.

“Across the nation, people who have been vaccinated and boosted are still contracting a mild version of Covid-19,” Gallego said in a statement. “I have received both doses of the vaccine and a booster, yet have tested positive for the virus.”

Gallego said she was following federal health guidelines while staying in contact with her staff “to ensure my work on behalf of the people of Phoenix continues without interruption.”

In Tucson, Pima County officials reported Friday that 91% county employees working with vulnerable populations who were required to show proof of vaccination by Dec. 31 complied with the mandate.

Of the 172 employees who didn’t provide proof of vaccination or receive an exemption, the county said some have been dismissed and others reassigned.

According to Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, 22 of his employees have been terminated as of Friday, but that “extenuating circumstances” exist for some who are on family, medical or military leave.