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US Senate candidate Mark Kelly agrees Arizona has coronavirus emergency

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The state he hopes to represent in the U.S. Senate has been doing a good job with its response to the coronavirus outbreak, Democratic candidate Mark Kelly of Arizona said.

“The steps that have been taken here in the state, especially by mayors and local officials who have chosen to close down places where the virus can spread – those are good things,” Kelly told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statewide stay-at-home order this week, and he previously closed bars, gyms and entertainment venues and banned dine-in service at restaurants.

Cities have implemented restrictions on their parks such as closing playgrounds and sports courts.

Kelly also agreed with Ducey’s request Wednesday for a presidential major disaster declaration. That would help Arizona receive more support for the battle against the spreading virus.

“We’re facing a very challenging few weeks here in the state: We have 1,000 ventilators, we need probably 4,500. We need 13,000 more hospital beds. We need 1,500 more ICU beds. We don’t have enough masks, other personal protective equipment.

“Absolutely [a disaster declaration is needed].”

“We’ve got to stop the spread of the virus, and the only way to do that is to listen to the scientists and public health professionals,” Kelly said.

The former astronaut likened the stay-at-home directive to a space mission.

“Collectively, we’re trying to solve a hard problem. Every family, every household, every individual is part of a team.

“If you know that, I think it makes it easier to understand that we all have to go through some things that are uncomfortable right now. It’s kind of a little bit what you do when you’re in space.”

Kelly lived on the International Space Station and piloted shuttles. His NASA career began in 1996 and ended in 2011.

With the coronavirus slowing down campaign work, Kelly has turned to helping with aid for those affected by the outbreak.

“We’re using the email list to raise money for the Arizona food bank network,” he said.

His opponent, Republican Sen. Martha McSally, suspended campaign fundraising Wednesday for two weeks to focus on coronavirus aid.

She launched “15 Days of Giving” to raise money for the Salvation Army in Arizona. She also donated her April salary.

Kelly said, “I think we’ve raised nearly $20,000 and we’ve reached thousands of Arizonans through our volunteer network.”

Those volunteers are “calling people to give them information to let them know that they can call 2-1-1 if they need … help that’s related to coronavirus,” he said.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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