PHOENIX — As the days pass and COVID-19 numbers get worse, it is not uncommon to hear the church bells ring at the Cristo Rey Church on the Pasqua Yaqui Reservation near Tucson.
State Senator Sally Ann Gonzales (D-Tucson) lives nearby. The bells alert the tribe when another member has died from COVID-19. "It's really disheartening that we are not doing enough as state leaders," Gonzales says.
The senator says Governor Doug Ducey is not making the tough decisions she thinks need to be made like mandating that everyone wears masks across the state, closing more businesses and ordering people to stay at home.
COVID-19 strikes close to home for Senator Gonzales. Her 45-year-old nephew, married, a father of four lies in a Banner Hospital ICU bed. "Unfortunately he has diabetes that complicates things," she says.
Gonzales says her nephew is showing signs of improvement, but as hospitals fill to capacity, the senator believes we all need to do more.
"It's really upsetting a gym owner was going to stay open and sue the state because the governor closed up his place of business. People are dying. This is a health and a life and death situation."
For Senator Gonzales nearly everyone she knows, family, friends, constituents are dealing with the effects of COVID-19. "He was just sent home over the weekend," Gonzales said of a neighbor, "We were posting great news he was well enough to be sent home to recover and then he died yesterday."
It is the sad reality that's being played out in cities, towns and homes across the state as doctors are forced to make difficult choices.
"I really feel bad for the medical staff to have to make these decisions, Gonzales says. "The quality of care, who is going to get the care, who is going to be sent home."