Scottsdale Update - Aug. 20, 2021


COVID-19 by the numbers. Maricopa County has been tracking COVID-19 cases since Jan. 22, 2020. Review the latest numbers here.  

Vaccine side effects versus COVID-19 symptoms. Side effects after your COVID-19 vaccines are normal signs your body is building protection and should go away in a few days. Compared to vaccine side effects, COVID-19 symptoms can be wider-ranging, more severe, and they can last weeks or longer. Find a vaccine.  

With this much community spread, we all need to take precautions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — wear a mask in public indoor settings. This provides an extra layer of protection that will make the rare breakthrough cases even less likely. Those who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors and outdoors around others. Brush up on how to properly wear face coverings and which ones are most effective – CDC’s guide to masks

TSA extends mask mandate. The Transportation Security Administration extended the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks through Sept. 13. These include at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus (including the Scottsdale Trolley and Valley Metro) and rail systems. Read more.  

According to HonorHealth, about 90 percent of COVID-19 inpatients in their hospitals are unvaccinated. It's clear - getting vaccinated is your best defense against the Delta variant that is spreading rapidly in our country. The data show breakthrough cases where a fully-vaccinated person tests positive for COVID-19 are rare. In those rare cases, fully-vaccinated individuals are overwhelmingly avoiding severe illness, hospitalization and death. Another indicator that vaccines work: even though we are seeing case numbers similar to the surge we experienced last summer, deaths are down more than 70 percent. This is further proof that getting fully vaccinated is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you. Learn moreFind a vaccine.  

Hospital admissions jump for COVID-19-positive children. Banner Health admitted 71 COVID-19 positive pediatric patients in July, which was double the number it admitted in June, according to Banner's chief clinical officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel. While the number of children who get sick from COVID-19 remains a small percentage of the total number of those who develop the respiratory illness, a surge in infections statewide means more Arizona kids are getting sick, and the trajectory of hospitalizations is worrisome. 

Of particular concern is that children 11 and younger are not yet eligible to get the vaccine. It could be mid-winter before the vaccine is approved for use by that age group. The American Association of Pediatrics issued a universal school masking recommendation. Home use of face masks also may be particularly valuable in households that include medically fragile, immunocompromised or at-risk adults and children.  

The city’s COVID-19 page contains information about the city’s emergency orders, facilities and operations. Learn more here

Follow us on Twitter @ScottsdaleAZgov and Facebook for city COVID-19 updates and other city information.

The city Call Center is available 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays to assist residents via phone – call 480-312-3111.

Visit to access city services online.


City declares “Stage 1” of its Drought Management Plan; activates Drought Management Team. The United States Bureau of Reclamation declared a Colorado River “Tier 1 shortage.” In response, Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson is implementing “Stage 1” of Scottsdale’s Drought Management Plan. This activates a team of city leaders to initiate increased water education, conservation and outreach efforts.  

This first-ever declaration means a water supply shortage for most of Arizona in 2022. But not in Scottsdale. Thanks to our advanced planning and infrastructure investments, Scottsdale residents and businesses will not see a change. Scottsdale Water will continue to deliver water without interruptions because of our diverse water resources portfolio including: Salt and Verde rivers, groundwater and reclaimed water. Scottsdale’s rights to the Colorado River also will be largely untouched by the Tier 1 shortage declaration with only an estimated 3 percent reduction. 

Residents and businesses will not be mandated to reduce water use in Tier 1. However, we are asking everyone to voluntarily increase water conservation efforts, which will help to secure the city’s future water supply. 

Get city water conservation tips and take advantage of Scottsdale’s latest technology, WaterSmart, which allows customers to monitor and assess their water usage. Learn more

ADOT warns of weekend freeway closures that affect drivers in Scottsdale. Westbound Loop 101 will be closed from Pima to Scottsdale roads from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23. The closure includes all westbound ramps. Detour on Pinnacle Peak Road or Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. Traffic can re-enter eastbound Loop 101 at Scottsdale Road. This closure is rescheduled from last week. 

The Arizona Department of Transportation is widening and improving Loop 101 from Interstate 17 in Phoenix to Pima Road in Scottsdale. To learn more about the project and upcoming traffic restrictions, visit ADOT’s project webpage, where you can also subscribe to project alerts. Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at, by calling 511 and through ADOT’s Twitter feed @ArizonaDOT.   

Lois Roma-Deeley is Scottsdale’s new poet laureate. Poet, editor and educator Lois Roma-Deeley has been selected as the city’s next poet laureate. She is the founding director of the Women Writers Workshop at Arizona State University, serves as associate editor of Presence, an international poetry journal, and is an emeritus professor at Paradise Valley Community College. 

As Scottsdale’s poet laureate, she will serve as an ambassador of Scottsdale’s vibrant literary culture and will enhance the profile of poetry, poets and literary arts to the entire community through workshops, performances and advocacy. Roma-Deeley began her appointment on Aug. 6, taking over from Scottsdale’s first poet laureate, Bob Frost (2010-2021). She will serve her term until Dec. 24, 2024. Her selection comes with a $1,500 annual honorarium. Read more

Podsdale’s latest episode lets you recharge with Rocket. Host Holly Walter took a trip to Chaparral High School to visit Scottsdale Police School Resource Officer Devon Lines and his K9 partner, Rocket. The 2-year-old Golden Retriever is the first police K9 assigned to a school resource officer in Maricopa County. Learn how this dynamic duo works to calm high stress situations, provide comfort on campus and bridge communication gaps with students. Listen now.  

Watch Scottsdale’s Fast Five video. Scottsdale 360, the city's virtual learning series, wrapped up Aug. 19 with an overview of Community Services; job seekers were invited to come dressed to impress to Marriot Hotels' hiring event at Vista del Camino; and Scottsdale said farewell to Captain Ken Farrell, a 40-year fire veteran. Watch Fast Five

City improvements temporarily affect residents: 

  • Horizon Park pickleball courts will be resurfaced to prevent future cracking. Additionally, the park is getting two extra pickleball courts, bringing the total to 10. Pickleball play is available at Cholla and Thompson Peak parks. Learn more.  

  • McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park’s Scottsdale Charros Carousel will be closed for maintenance Tuesday, Aug. 24, and Wednesday, Aug. 25. Guests can still enjoy train rides, sweet treats in Hartley’s General Store and a stroll through the model railroad building. Learn more.  

Scottsdale Public Library sees increase in electronic circulation. Many patrons this past year turned to online library services due to the impact of COVID-19. The library saw a 10 percent increase in electronic circulation compared to the previous fiscal year with nearly 900,000 checkouts. Digital checkouts accounted for 46 percent of library checkouts and remote usage overall, which includes online and telephone reference and digital circulation. Database use increased by 12 percent over the previous year. Learn more about the Scottsdale Library

Attend these new exhibitions at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA).  

  • Mimi O Chun - It’s All Cake, Sept. 4-Jan. 23, 2022: New York-based artist and designer Mimi O Chun’s presents new works made during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding yet another layer to her practice of social and political commentary in the form of sculpture. 

  • Forever Becoming - Sept. 11-Jan. 23, 2022: Young Phoenix Artists presents new work by artists younger than or near the age of 30. This exhibition presents various artforms that address topics including marginalized communities, social justice and environmental degradation. 

Learn more about SMoCA

City Council and other meetings are open to the public at reduced capacity. To provide physical distance between meeting participants, audience size for meetings in the City Hall Kiva is limited; seats will be available on a first come, first served basis. City Council will meet twice next week: Tuesday, Aug. 24, and Thursday, Aug. 26. View agendas

Learn about traffic restrictions in and around Scottsdale. Get the list


bloomberg philanthropies announces scottsdale as What Works Cities 2019 silver certification

Subscribe to Scottsdale Update


Get the latest Scottsdale news & events in your inbox each week -- just enter your email above.

The Scottsdale Update printed newsletter is included in utility bills six times each year. Download recent issues below (PDF)

Scottsdale Video Network