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Gov. Ducey reiterates 'no mask mandate' as Arizona's COVID-19 cases continue to climb

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Posted at 10:53 AM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 14:27:35-04

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey says there will be no mask mandate or changes for businesses and schools as Arizona continues to see COVID-19 case numbers trending upwards.

In a statement released Friday, Ducey said, "We will not be listening to the lockdown lobby. Businesses will stay open. Students will be able to attend school. There will be no mask mandates. We have a proven solution with the vaccine."

Our state has continued to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, with 1,479 new confirmed cases reported Friday, the highest daily case number in over a week.

Hospitalizations due to the virus also continue to trend upward with 910 patients statewide. Of those, 238 are in the ICU. ICU occupancies have not been that high since March 12.

Experts say the highly contagious delta variant as well as people gathering for Fourth of July contributed to the trend.

Ducey has maintained his stance on mitigation strategies, putting an emphasis on vaccinations to best protect Arizona residents.

"Arizonans have the ability to protect themselves from COVID-19 thanks to the vaccine. Businesses are open, students are back in the classroom, loved ones are gathering and our economy is booming," he said in his Friday statement.

Other state officials have spoken out recently about concerns over the rise in cases, specifically citing children returning to school.

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said the governor and legislature were playing politics with COVID-19 in Arizona.

Hoffman said they were ignoring medical science and tying the hands of school leaders who are seeking to protect their students and employees.

Last month, Ducey signed a law that prohibits school districts and charters from requiring masks during school hours on school property even if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus.

Reaction to the order has been mixed, with some parents signing a letter asking the Arizona Department of Health Services to keep COVID-19 safety measures in place, and others saying they're confident in making their own decisions about their children at school.