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Tucson mayor blames coronavirus surge on Ducey reopening the state

(Josh Galemore/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

PHOENIX — Tucson’s mayor told CNN on Wednesday that the surge of coronavirus cases in Arizona is a direct result of Gov. Doug Ducey reopening the state in mid-May.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Arizona have skyrocketed in the past month as the state loosened restrictions following Ducey’s stay-at-home order, which went into effect March 31 and expired May 16.

“It is very devastating and Gov. Ducey took a step too quickly,” Regina Romero said. “He went from opening the state from 0 to 60 and now we’re seeing the consequences of those actions.”

The Arizona health department reported 4,878 COVID-19 cases and 88 deaths on Wednesday, both single-day highs during the pandemic.

Ducey has had to scale back reopening efforts because of the surge.

On Monday, Ducey ordered gyms, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and water parks to shut down for at least 30 days in an effort to slow the spread.

Romero said Pima County was seeing about 20 new coronavirus cases per day at the start of May. That average is at about 400 per day now, according to Romero.

“The rise in COVID cases are directly correlated with the opening of the state by Gov. Doug Ducey,” Romero said.

Romero, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and other Arizona mayors had previously pleaded for Ducey to give them power to make decisions at the local level, which Ducey didn’t allow in his executive orders.

The Republican governor relented on June 17, when he allowed local governments to pass mandates to require masks in public.

Romero, a Democrat, still believes Ducey needs to take additional action to stop the surge and require masks to be mandatory in public across all of Arizona.

“Arizona is one of the hot spots not only in the country but the world,” Romero said. “So right now is the time for Gov. Ducey to take swift action.”

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