Arizona congressman seeks action after virus cases surge - InfoNews

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Arizona congressman seeks action after virus cases surge

June 11, 2020 - 12:19 PM

PHOENIX - As Arizona sees more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases per day, Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego has criticized Arizona's governor for failing to highlight the “seriousness of the growing public health emergency our state is facing.”

In a letter sent to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday, Gallego asked what the governor plans to do to address the recent surge that has made Arizona a hot spot and pushed some hospitals to near capacity in their intensive care units.

Ducey’s office didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Gallego’s letter. He is set to hold his weekly virus update news conference Thursday afternoon.

Ducey has said the rise in cases was expected and partly the result of increased testing.

But public health experts have said it is clear the increase goes well beyond that, and some have called for the governor to tighten restrictions.

Arizona is seeing more than 1,000 new cases per day, up from fewer than 400 a day when Ducey ended his business closure and stay-at-home orders in mid-May. Public health experts note that the per cent of positive tests has nearly doubled in the past few weeks.

On Thursday, the state reported 1,412 new cases and 32 new deaths.

As of Thursday, Arizona has had 31,264 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seen 1,127 people die from the virus since March.

The state's largest hospital system, Banner Health, has said its intensive care units are nearly full and will soon exceed capacity. Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel is urging the public to boost their efforts to avoid contracting or passing on the virus by wearing masks in public, using social distancing and being diligent with hygiene practices

Maricopa County health officials made similar pronouncements at a news briefing Wednesday, and said all employees are now required to use masks when they are within 6 feet (2 metres) of coworkers.

Ducey has praised the large majority of the state's residents who have followed social distancing guidelines but has declined to criticize large gatherings at nightclubs. His executive orders block cities from taking actions to stop activities that may spread the virus. And he is not requiring the public to take steps like wearing masks.

For most people, the new 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.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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