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Former Arizona health director: Mask policies, club closures slowing virus

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

PHOENIX — The former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said Monday mitigation strategies put in place to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the state are working.

Will Humble, who is now the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, pointed to mandatory mask policies enacted in most municipalities and the closure of nightclubs and bars for the slowed spread.

“You put those two things together and you get a little bit of relief back from the brink… a little bit of extra breathing room in the last 10 days,” Humble told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad.

The rate of new Arizona coronavirus cases has shown signs of slowing in recent weeks.

According to the Associated Press, the seven-day average for newly reported cases fell to 2,627.14 on Sunday, down by more than 50 from the previous day but up from the July low of 2,539.71 seen Friday. It reached a high point of 3,844 on July 6.

For the 30,113 tests given and processed last week, the positive rate was 12%, the lowest since it was 12% for the week starting May 31.

Ducey gave local governments the ability to enact mask policies on June 17.

Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, gyms and water parks were all shut down for at least 30 days on June 29 and will remain closed until further notice.

Humble, who held the position from 2009-2015, said if Arizona wants to keep trending in a positive direction, residents need to continue following guidance from public health officials.

Humble also believes keeping nightclubs closed and forcing more strict compliance on bars and patrons if they reopen will help Arizona’s numbers.

“You’ve got to have compliance and enforcement this time around,” Humble said. “The honor system did not work.”

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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