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Trump to visit Arizona in midst of COVID-19 outbreak

President Donald Trump plans to travel to Arizona next week, he said Wednesday afternoon — even as Gov. Ducey announced an extension of the state's stay-at-home order for at least two weeks.

Trump mentioned the trip during a White House briefing, saying "I think I'm going to Arizona next week and we look forward to that, and I'm going to, I hope, Ohio very soon and we're going to start to move around."

"Hopefully in the not-too-distant-future, we'll have some massive rallies and people will be sitting next to each other," Trump said.

Ducey extends Arizona's coronavirus restrictions until May 15

The announcement comes as Gov. Doug Ducey told Arizona that a "Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected" order would remain in place for at least two more weeks, with some restrictions being loosened next week.

"We've earned where we are," he said, but said that the state has not seen enough of a trend in a slower increase in positive reported cases and COVID-19 deaths to lift the restrictions. "We have lost to date 304 lives in this state. We want to make decisions so that we reduce this number," he said. "The virus is not going away. What we're going to do is mitigate the illnesses and reduce the deaths."

The Arizona trip is being organized by the White House, rather than by Trump's presidential campaign, sources said.

The president said his journey to Arizona was connected to "industry."

The timing and events of Trump's planned trip here are not clear.

Trump last visited Arizona on Feb. 19, with a stop in Phoenix to boost the campaign of U.S. Sen. Martha McSally.

As of Wednesday, 304 Arizona residents have died from COVID-19, with more than 7,200 confirmed reported coronavirus cases in the state — numbers that continue to increase daily. The state Department of Health Services announced 18 additional deaths and 254 new cases on Wednesday.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Then-candidate Donald Trump speaking at the Phoenix Convention Center in September 2016.