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Rep. Ruben Gallego says protesters with face masks set good examples

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)

PHOENIX – As Arizona passed what he called a “grim milestone” of 1,000 coronavirus deaths Friday, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego lauded protesters for taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while they take a stand against racism.

“As we work to highlight the life of George Floyd and systemic racism and inequities in our criminal justice system, we need to still be cognizant of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Phoenix Democrat said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“I’ve been impressed with the great number of the protesters who’ve been masked and followed social distancing guidelines. The broader public should follow their lead, wearing masks everywhere.”

Gallego also encouraged to citizens follow health safety guidelines after the Arizona Department of Health Services reported more than 1,579 new coronavirus cases – a single-day high – and said the pandemic death toll had increased by 16 to 1,012.

“As Arizona passes the grim milestone of 1,000 COVID-19 deaths with more than 1,500 new cases in a single day, it is important to emphasize that our state is still in the midst of a pandemic and experiencing a growing public health emergency,” he said in a press release.

“I urge everyone to please follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including practicing social distancing, wearing a mouth and nose covering when around others, washing your hands often, and staying home when possible.”

On Thursday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Health Director Dr. Cara Christ said that recent rises in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and positive test percentages aren’t unexpected or reason for concern.

Ducey said the case increase was inevitable as the state has been conducting more tests, and it was no reason to reconsider his decision last month to let his stay-at-home order expire and allow most businesses to reopen.

Gallego warned against growing complacent to the threat of coronavirus.

“We must continue working together to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gallego said in the release.

“We must all work together to protect ourselves, our frontline workers, and our state’s particularly vulnerable citizens, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.”

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