Rep. Ruben Gallego challenges Gov. Ducey’s handling of COVID-19 outbreak

Jun 11, 2020, 7:13 AM | Updated: 9:52 am
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego has written Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey questioning whether the state leader was taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously enough.

Gallego sent the letter Wednesday, the day the state reported 1,556 new cases of COVID-19, coming very close to the single-day record 1,579 reached Friday.

“Clearly, Arizona is going in the wrong direction,” Gallego wrote. “What does your administration plan to do about it?”

Gallego noted that 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 beyond that, noting that the percent of positive tests has nearly doubled in the past few weeks.

In a letter sent to hospitals last weekend, Health Director Dr. Cara Christ recommended hospitals “fully activate” their emergency plans — roughly three weeks after the statewide stay-at-home order expired.

That letter contained many of the recommendations outlined in a previous letter the department sent to hospitals in March.

However, the letter also urged facilities experiencing staffing shortages or inadequate bed capacity to stop conducting elective surgeries.

“The percent of positive COVID-19 tests has more than doubled from approximately 5% a month ago to 12% last week, and the largest Arizona health system, Banner Health, has reached capacity for their external lung machines and is close to reaching their ICU bed capacity,” Gallego wrote.

Maricopa County public health officials have recommended people wear face masks when they are out to slow the spread of the virus.

The state has no specific directive about wearing masks.

“I urge you to do more to emphasize the seriousness of the situation to the people of Arizona and take this information into account as you make decisions that will greatly impact the number of lives we lose during the pandemic,” Gallego said.

As of Wednesday, Arizona has 29,852 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 1,095 people have died from the virus since March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Google Maps Screenshot)...
Taylor Kinnerup

Arizona’s News Roundup: Phoenix business owners win homelessness suit, Hobbs’ staffer resigns

KTAR’s Arizona’s News Roundup this week catches you up on homeless encampment updates, a change in the governor's office and more.
14 hours ago
(Mesa Police Department Photo)...

Teacher’s aide in Mesa arrested for allegedly sexual abusing 9-year-old girl

A teacher's aide at a Mesa elementary school was arrested for allegedly sexual abusing a 9-year-old girl multiple times on campus.
14 hours ago
(Screenshot/Phoenix Union High School District YouTube)...
SuElen Rivera

Phoenix Union Superintendent Gestson leaving after 8 years at helm

The superintendent of the Valley's largest public high school district is leaving after eight years for a university-level position.
14 hours ago
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)...

Report: Arizona Jan. 6 rioter ‘QAnon Shaman’ released from prison

Arizona's horned Jan. 6 rioter Jacob Chansley, also known as "QAnon Shaman," has been released from federal prison.
14 hours ago
Follow @KTAR923...

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! makes return to Scottsdale’s Arizona Boardwalk

Fans of bizarre, unbelievable items may be happy to hear Ripley's Believe It or Not! has made its return to Arizona Boardwalk in Scottsdale. 
14 hours ago
(Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)...

Arizona Democrats sue third-party No Labels, Sec. of State Fontes

The Arizona Democratic Party filed a complaint Thursday against Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and newly recognized third party No Labels.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...
Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Rep. Ruben Gallego challenges Gov. Ducey’s handling of COVID-19 outbreak