PHOENIX — In a Thursday news conference, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey reiterated that state and local hospitals are prepared to respond as the number of positive coronavirus cases in our state continues to rise.
Watch the full press conference below:
Recent data shows Arizona is going through a second wave of coronavirus, with case counts rising by 50 percent in the past 10 days. As of data reported Thursday morning, Arizona has had more than 30,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,127 reported deaths.
The Arizona Department of Health Services also released a letter recently, urging hospitals to "fully activate" their facility emergency plans.
But despite the increase in cases and reports on bed shortages, Ducey says the state is prepared and hospitals have the capacity to treat incoming patients.
Leaders of several of the Valley's biggest hospital groups also put out a joint statement hours before Ducey's press conference Thursday, denying reports of a shortage in bed capacity.
"Recently, there have been local and national media reports regarding the increase in confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Arizona and how our state is managing the COVID-19 crisis. As representatives of the largest health systems representing 80 percent of care provided in this state, we would like to assure the public that we have available bed capacity and surge plans are in place to continue to serve the people of Arizona. We are well prepared to manage an increase in patient volume," the statement read.
When asked if his office solicited the letter from the hospital group, Ducey said he did not, but the letter "got the facts straight."
Ducey said that he and state health officials anticipated a rise in cases once Arizona reopened, and that they are prepared for the necessary response.
“The fact that this 'worst-case scenario' is not here today is positive news. So, we’re going to stay focused on this, and we want people to make positive decisions like they have so far. And we’re going to be able to navigate through this," Ducey said Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Department of Health held a press conference urging everyone to continue wearing face masks while in public and to maintain social distancing as hospitals across the country continue to inch further toward capacity.
Ducey was asked several times if he would consider implementing a mandate on wearing masks in public, but continued to say that it is only highly recommended "if you can't physically distance."
The governor also said that the public should double down on social distancing and hygiene efforts to try to slow the spread as much as possible.
"I think it’s important that people have the facts. This virus is not going away. There is not a cure for this virus and there is not a vaccine for this virus," Ducey said. "So this virus is something we need to learn to live with. And we need to make sure that we are protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and those are folks at a certain age bracket with underlying health conditions and at risk conditions, and we’re going to continue to do that every single day until there is a vaccine.”