Top Arizona health official maintains state reopened at correct time
Jun 19, 2020, 4:00 PM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)
PHOENIX — Arizona’s top public health official maintained Friday the state reopened at the correct time during the coronavirus outbreak.
“I think we opened at the right time,” Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad. “We have been repeating the same prevention messaging. There is a responsibility for everyone to take those measures.”
State leaders have pulled back on Arizona’s reopening plan recently as it grapples with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
The most recent action came Wednesday when Gov. Doug Ducey gave local governments the authority to institute a mandatory mask policy, which most Arizona cities have adopted.
Christ said the state is continuing to use data and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when making decisions.
“We’ve been making data-driven decisions as we’ve been watching our real-time data,” Christ said.
Christ said she expects case numbers to continue to rise for the next couple of weeks as new citywide policies take effect.
The Arizona health department, which Christ heads, reported more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time Friday.
With 3,246 new COVID-19 cases, the state’s total increased to 46,689.
The reported positive rate for PCR COVID-19 tests in Arizona increased to 9.5% Friday. It was 6.7% on May 31.
“I think we opened up when we hit the Phase 1 gating criteria. We were squarely meeting that data,” Christ said. “I think that as we’re opening up, people need to follow those precautions.”