Arizona to implement contact tracing system, use National Guard resources

Jun 17, 2020, 6:19 PM | Updated: 8:09 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX – Arizona will implement a system to expand coronavirus contact tracing, Gov. Doug Ducey announced in an executive order Wednesday.

Up to 300 National Guard members, along with supplies and resources, will be available to help with contact tracing, Ducey said in a press release.

The Arizona Department of Health Services will provide $37 million for contact tracing efforts throughout the state to investigate the spread of the coronavirus.

When contact tracing, health officials work with patients to remember anyone that person might have come in close contact with before knowing they were infected. The officials then warn people who may have been exposed and encourage them to stay home or socially distance themselves for 14 days while monitoring themselves for any symptoms.

“We need to redouble our efforts and we need everyone to do their part,” Ducey said in a statement. “We will continue to closely track the data, work with officials around the state and make this our highest priority.”

This was one of several actions announced Wednesday, when Ducey held a press conference to address the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, positive test percentages and hospital bed usage in the state.

The government will work to raise awareness of the importance of social distancing and wearing face masks, the announcement stated. Ducey gave authority to local governments to mandate face covering use when in public.

Additionally, the state will fund $10 million for more personal protective equipment and face masks for healthcare and frontline workers.

The state has partnered with both the University of Arizona and Arizona State in effort to fight the coronavirus. UA is providing 250,000 serology tests for health care and public safety workers, and ASU is working on saliva-based testing, which is less invasive and requires less PPE.

Ducey’s statement reminded businesses of measurements that have been in place for establishments that have re-opened. It said the ADHS has issued updated guidance that includes six feet of physical distance, increased amount of cleaning and disinfecting, and employees must be checked for symptoms before shifts, wear face coverings during and stay home if sick.

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