Ducey gives latest update as Arizona’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Mar 18, 2020, 4:30 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm

PHOENIX — The same day the number of coronavirus cases in Arizona increased to 27, Gov. Doug Ducey held a press conference at the Arizona State Health Laboratory, where he provided an update.

In addition to the proactive measures being taken by local governments and businesses across the state, the governor strongly encouraged individual citizens to pitch in as well.

Among the most productive steps Arizonans can take is donating blood.

“Blood levels are dangerously low at our blood banks,” Ducey said.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the governor said that 32 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in an estimated loss of more than 800 donations.

Ducey also encouraged Arizonans to donate to their local food banks.

Prior to the press conference, Ducey toured the state Emergency Operations Center, saying he was both impressed by and grateful for their dedication.

“Trained and experienced professionals working 24/7 to help coordinate emergency response around the state,” Ducey said.

“These professionals coordinate communications among all of Arizona’s 15 counties…  They ensure that Arizona is acting with one voice, and one clear line of direction as the situation changes, sometimes by the hour.”

Ducey then thanked all emergency management, public health officials and Director of Emergency Management Wendy Smith-Reeve for taking proactive action to combat COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has been an unprecedented challenge, and you are all rising to the occasion. Without a doubt, COVID-19 will test our limits, but it’s not going to break the state of Arizona.”

The governor continued by saying the state has been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will continue to follow their lead as recommendations and guidelines evolve.

Speaking to the financial hardships facing small businesses, Ducey referenced a letter he sent to the Small Business Administration earlier this week in which he requested an economic injury disaster loan declaration for Arizona.

In response to a question about his reluctance to issue a statewide mandate to shut down large gatherings, the governor said his decisions were being guided by the Arizona Department of Health Services, CDC recommendations and the National Institute of Health.

“What we want to do is put out responsible guidance for the entire state of Arizona,” Ducey said.

“We want to make decisions that protect public health first and foremost, but also take into account that we have a large state and things are different in Tombstone than they are in Tucson; they’re different in Gilbert than they are in Globe. I’m going to respect local leaders’ decisions.”

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Ducey gives latest update as Arizona’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise