PHOENIX — The mayor of the fifth-largest city in the United States says she has not heard from Governor Doug Ducey about COVID-19 in months.
On Tuesday, Ducey gave an update on COVID-19 on social media through a scripted video message, but avoiding the opportunity for the press to ask questions.
Ducey does not hold regular public health briefings and we're also learning that he has not spoken with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego on COVID-19 in months.
Gallego was at a small, private Veteran’s Day event in Phoenix, where ABC15 was able to ask a few questions about COVID-19.
When Mayor Gallego was asked if she has heard from the governor, she replied, ’no.’
With a follow-up question, Gallego said the last time she spoke with the governor was before he did the mask policy.
The video that was posted to Twitter this week on COVID-19 addresses past actions that have been done, but did not mention any new actions.
Cases of COVID-19 are rising across the country and Arizona is no different. There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your community. We can't let up. #MaskUpAZ pic.twitter.com/IO7M1sperz— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) November 10, 2020
“Our goal is to protect public health, and to keep our economy safely open and moving. We know that both are important to the health and well-being of Arizonans,” Ducey said, “We will continue to take every action necessary to protect public health, while also recognizing that all our actions have impacts on peoples’ lives in so many ways.”
ABC15 reached out to the governor’s office about communications and asked about not speaking with elected officials like Gallego on COVID-19.
A spokesperson responding by email saying, “The Department of Health Services provides daily updates, both through its data dashboard and regular communications to community stakeholders. All metrics, data, guidance and more are posted and updated frequently.”
Congressman Greg Stanton is concerned about the COVID-19 response in Arizona without a clear plan for contact tracing, and testing statewide.
Stanton, the former mayor of Phoenix, said he also worries about Arizona not implementing a mask mandate across Arizona as two republican governors did this week in Iowa and Utah.
“I’m angry and I’m disappointed both as an elected official and as a father of two young children and as the son of my dad who is in his 80’s,” Stanton said. “We see the failure of leadership here in the state of Arizona. Not just on the failure to issue a statewide mask mandate, which I know is politically controversial. But my response is so what. You got to do the right thing for the people of Arizona.” Stanton said. “Regardless of the political implications.”
The governor’s office went on to say that they speak with mayors individually, “Throughout the pandemic, we've worked with city, county, other statewide and federal partners, as well as partners in the non-profit, health, university sectors and more, and will continue to do so,” a statement read.
“The department also works closely with county health departments across the state, including Maricopa County, which take the lead on public health issues. Throughout this pandemic, the department has also coordinated with hospitals, labs, care settings, university experts, federal partners and more, as you’ve seen and reported on, and the governor and this administration has partnered with statewide and local officials as needed on a regular basis. Take for example the $19 million grant announced yesterday with the Department of Education or the joint briefing on Monday with Dr. Christ and Superintendent Hoffman. Or the work with Secretary Hobb’s Office around ensuring safe elections. We won’t hesitate to collaborate with anyone if it can help keep people safe and healthy and serve Arizonans,” said Patrick Ptak, spokesperson for Governor Doug Ducey.