Sponsored by

Local

Note: This story is more than 1 year old.

Az mayors urge Ducey to impose statewide restrictions

A day after he imposed new restrictions to curb the steep increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, Gov. Doug Ducey was still coming under fire Friday for not doing enough.

Mayors of Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Tempe and Tolleson said in a letter to the governor that they were “deeply concerned with the exponential rise” in COVID-19 cases in the state and called on Ducey to implement stronger, statewide restrictions.

In a conference call organized Friday by Protect Our Care, to discuss the rising number of cases in the state, Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez expressed frustration at the “complete and utter lack of leadership” he said is coming from the Ducey administration.

And Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in broadcast interviews Thursday and Friday to say that without statewide restrictions, people who travel around the state are going to “come home and stress a health care system that’s already hurting.”

Calls seeking comment from Ducey’s office were not immediately returned Friday.

But the comments come as a new poll shows Ducey has the lowest ranking among governors for his handling of the coronavirus. Ducey was also the only governor in the nationwide poll by the COVID-19 Consortium to rank below President Donald Trump, with a 32% approval rating compared to Trump’s 34%.

They also come as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state rose by 4,221 and the number of virus-related deaths grew by 44.

Faced with the spiraling numbers, Ducey on Thursday ordered dine-in restaurants to cap seating at half their capacity, he imposed new COVID-19 reporting requirements on state hospitals. He also announced agreements with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and Arizona State University that should result in thousands of more tests per day in the state.

TucsonSentinel.com relies on contributions from our readers to support our reporting on Tucson's civic affairs. Donate to TucsonSentinel.com today!
If you're already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors, colleagues and customers to help support quality local independent journalism.

But the mayors said it’s not enough for Ducey to encourage people to stay home and catch up on Netflix as he did Thursday. They called for a statewide requirement that people wear masks in public settings, for increased testing and an expansion of contact tracing, among other requests.

“Our economy will not recover until we are able to slow the spread and rebuild consumer confidence,” the letter said. “The longer we wait to act, the longer and more severe the blow to our economy will be, the longer it will take to safely send our children back to school, and more lives will be needlessly lost.”

In a Facebook post Thursday, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said:

Today, Gov. Doug Ducey missed another opportunity to take decisive statewide action and save lives. He is the elected leader of our state and every day he waits, more people become infected and more lives are needlessly lost. Today's announcements at his press conference are simply not good enough.

There's absolutely zero reason not to require masks in public settings statewide. These decisions should be based on science and the advice of public health experts - not politics.

It's time for Gov. Ducey to show real leadership and stop taking his cues from Donald J. Trump.

In the Friday conference call, Arizona Public Health Association Executive Director Will Humble credited the Ducey administration for taking the right steps early in the pandemic. But Humble, the former Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the state moved too quickly to lift restrictions in May, going from “phase zero to phase 3 in one day,” and it’s paying the price now.

“There were so many things that didn’t happen in early June, and the warning signs were there,” Humble said.

"This is a wake up call for everyone in Arizona, and everyone in Pima County, except apparently, our governor, who simply does not get it.""The conditions of today were foreseeable for anyone who was paying attention and using their own intuition," said Humble. "You didn't need to be sophisticated, you just needed to listen to the stakeholders in the university system and follow the lead of other elected officials in the state. Sadly that did not happen."

Valadez was more blunt.

Support TucsonSentinel.com today, because a smarter Tucson is a better Tucson!

“I plead with our governor to finally get his head out of the sand and look around,” he said.

"Originally, when we were under the stay-at-home order, we had about 3-5 percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive. Now, according to the state, we're at about 23 percent positive," said Valadez.

As of Friday, July 10, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 116,892 cases of COVID-19 and 2,082 deaths in the state. It said 860,295 tests for COVID-19 have been completed in public and private labs in Arizona, and 11.7% of tests have come back positive for the virus that causes the disease.

- 30 -
have your say   

Comments

There are no comments on this report. Sorry, comments are closed.

Sorry, we missed your input...

You must be logged in or register to comment

Read all of TucsonSentinel.com's
coronavirus reporting here »

Click image to enlarge

Pool photo/Ross D. Franklin/AP

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks about the latest coronavirus data at a June 25 news conference in Phoenix.