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Pence: Feds to assist Arizona with health care personnel, surge capacity

PHOENIX — Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday federal authorities were ready to assist Arizona with health care personnel and surge capacity needs as coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket in the state.

Pence spent less than three hours in Phoenix to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey and local health leaders on the same day Arizona reported single-day records of 4,878 new coronavirus cases and 88 deaths.

“We are absolutely determined to make sure Arizona and those health care workers have the resources, supplies and equipment they need to render the care that any one of us would want a member of the family to have,” Pence said during a press conference at the airport.

Pence said Ducey asked to have an additional 500 medical personnel brought to the state to help with the COVID-19 response, a request that will be met.

ICU bed usage reached a pandemic-high of 89% in Arizona on Tuesday, according to the latest state data, with the available supply down to a low point of 187 beds.

Overall inpatient bed usage was at 85%, 1 percentage point below the pandemic high last seen June 26.

Pence affirmed that despite rising numbers, Arizona hospitals have capacity and enough PPE.

“We want to say to all the incredible health care workers here in Arizona that help is on the way,” Pence said. “We will spare no expense to provide the kind of reinforcements that you will need all across the state should this coronavirus pandemic continue to expand.”

Ducey took additional action Monday to slow the spread of the virus in the state.

The Republican governor ordered gyms, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and water parks to shut down at least 30 days.

The state had documented 84,092 COVID-19 cases and 1,720 fatalities as of Wednesday morning.

“The rising cases in Arizona is why I’m here,” Pence said. “That’s why we brought the White House Coronavirus Task Force here.”

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