McSally says Arizonans should protect each other, not wait for government

Jun 17, 2020, 11:00 AM | Updated: Jun 18, 2020, 1:06 pm

Martha McSally face mask...

Sen. from Arizona Martha McSally (R-AZ) wears a mask depicting the Arizona state flag as she listens to testimony during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defense Spectrum Policy and the Impact of the Federal Communications Commissions Ligado Decision on National Security during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on Capitol Hill on May 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – U.S. Rep. Martha McSally said Wednesday that Arizonans should be protecting each other from coronavirus and not waiting for government intervention in a state seeing a sharp rise in cases.

“It’s up to Arizonans to take care of each other. This virus is not going away,” McSally told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show. “It’s about us protecting the vulnerable while still allowing people to be able to safely return to work to put food on the table.

“But we’ve got to do our part. We don’t sit back and wait for government edicts. We each need to still take care of each other and do our part to stop the spread.”

During a seven-minute interview on a variety of topics, the first-term Republican did not specify what steps she would like Arizonans to take.

State officials, including Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, have recently placed an emphasis on wearing a face covering in public when adequate physical distancing isn’t possible.

But Ducey, who allowed the state’s stay-at-home order to expire in mid-May, has resisted calls from Democratic elected officials in Arizona to mandate mask use or allow local governments to enact their own mask regulations.

McSally, in a stark contrast to her Democratic counterpart, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, said she thought Ducey was doing “a good job” with his coronavirus response.

“Look, when this virus came upon us, we knew what we were asked to do was to flatten the curve, right, to stop the spread, to learn more about the virus, invest in treatment and cures and ensure we have the health care capacity,” she said.

“So I think the governor has done a good job.”

The Arizona health department reported 1,827 new coronavirus cases and 20 additional deaths Wednesday morning, increasing the state’s documented totals to 40,924 and 1,239 deaths.

Wednesday’s case number was the second-highest figure reported in a single day, behind the 2,392 reported a day earlier.

In response to ongoing questions about the rising wave of cases, Ducey has been emphasizing the fact that the Arizona’s hospitals have more than enough capacity to treat all patients.

Overall hospital bed usage in Arizona increased to a pandemic high of 85% on Tuesday, according to the state health department, and the percentage of ICU beds in use reached a high point of 83%. The capacity figures don’t include surge beds that can be activated if the existing beds fill up.

“I don’t think it makes sense to design your policy on whether or not there are enough hospital beds for people to die in,” Sinema told KTAR News’ Gaydos and Chad Show on Tuesday.

“I think we should be designing our policy about how we are reducing the spread so fewer people are dying, fewer people are in the hospitals and fewer people are contracting the virus.”

In another difference from Sinema, McSally said she’s been in regular contact with Ducey. Sinema implied Tuesday the governor’s office hasn’t been taking her calls.

McSally said it’s up to Ducey and his team to make the decisions that they deem are best for Arizona.

“So I have my role in the Senate,” McSally said. “He’s the governor. I’m not going to tell them what to do, and we’re here supportive and trying to do our part of the federal level.”

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McSally says Arizonans should protect each other, not wait for government