With one day until Doug Ducey has to decide whether to end the Stay at Home order for Arizona or extend it or modify it due to the Coronavirus, the Mayors of Arizona’s three largest regional cities (Coral Evans of Flagstaff, Kate Gallego of Phoenix, and Regina Romero of Tucson) wrote a joint letter to the Governor, renewing their earlier calls for prudence and caution in his upcoming decision
The letter stated:
“The state is just over 24 hours away from the end of Governor Ducey’s Stay at Home Order. The Governor has not yet offered clear guidance as to whether this order will be extended, modified, or end fully. As Mayors representing the largest cities in each region of our state, we ask that the Governor adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as we look to safely reopen the economy and protect Arizonans. The state must be able to provide clear data showing that we have achieved a 14-day decline in COVID cases before the economy begins to reopen.”
“To achieve a two-week decline in COVID cases will require a significant ramping up of statewide testing. We applaud the Governor’s recent action to expand testing to a larger segment of the population. The data collected from these tests will be critical in determining our ability to safely reopen the economy without unnecessarily imperiling the lives of our residents.”
“We’ve seen other communities who have reopened too soon and paid the price in both public health and with a second economic shutdown. We do not want that to happen in Arizona. Increasing testing and using that data collected to track our progress against CDC guidelines provides the safest route forward as we navigate these unchartered waters.”
“We are all eager to reopen the economy as soon as it is safe to do so. We again ask the Governor to work closely with cities on COVID resiliency efforts. Our cities’ first responders are tasked with carrying out any statewide executive orders and the more time they have to prepare the better chance we have to keep our police, fire, and residents safe and healthy.”
The Mayors are right that Arizona has not had 14 consecutive days of decline in reported Coronavirus.
It is actually, according to this graph (click here) from the New York Times, still rising and falling depending on the day.
The reports in fatalities which was zero on Monday shot up by 18 new reported deaths on Tuesday.
While new testing resources are becoming available, a significant portion of the state’s population still has to be examined. Testing blitz’s over the next three weeks are being planned.
Governor Ducey should not repeat the potential premature steps taken by Governors like Georgia’s Brian Kemp or Florida’s Ron DeSantis.
He should follow the Center for Disease Control Guidelines and gradually reopen Arizona as medical safety permits.
UPDATE: Governor Ducey extended the Stay at Home order for Arizona residents until May 15, 2020.
Mayor Romero issued a statement following the Governor’s announcement which read:
“I am encouraged by Governor Ducey’s extension of his ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected’ Executive Order and applaud his measured approach. These are difficult but necessary decisions that no elected official relishes making.”
“Every day that our local businesses remain closed and our workers without jobs pains me. I am as eager as anyone to begin gradually re-opening our economy, however, we must do so in a manner that is safe and consistent with the advice of public health experts. It is critical that a phased-in re-opening follows the guidelines established by the CDC, and locally by the Pima County Health Department. To date, Arizona and Pima County have not met this criteria.”
“Given that the Executive Order pre-empts municipalities from taking action at the local level, I would highly advise Governor Ducey to seek the input of Mayors and local elected officials who are on the frontlines of this pandemic. I look forward to working with Governor Ducey to promote the safety and well-being of Arizonans during these difficult times.”
Later, the Mayors of Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson issued a joint statement that read:
“As mayors who represent nearly one-third of Arizonans we know that fighting COVID-19 is the most important challenge facing us right now. We agree with the Governor that it is important to rely on data and the guidance of medical experts when it comes to making decisions about reopening Arizona’s economy. Our preference is to have the current Stay-at-Home order remain in place without modifications; however, we agree it’s critical to extend stay-at-home guidelines until at least May 15 and show a steadier trendline before further reopening happens.”
“The decision the Governor made was certainly not an easy one, but it was the right one. We encourage the Governor to commit to looking for a 14-day decline in the number of positive COVID cases in Arizona before moving forward on further reopening. The Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines are responsible, and we believe Arizona should follow them.”
“In the days and weeks to come the Governor should continue to be guided by the advice of medical professionals and further involve cities in the decision-making process that directly affects our residents.”
Bailey Netsch, the Deputy Communications Director and Community Liason for the Arizona House Democrats issued a statement from House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez which read:
“We know that Arizona’s stay-at-home order is not intended to completely stop the spread of COVID19, it is intended to slow the spread so that our healthcare system and our precious frontline healthcare workers are not overwhelmed. The Center for Disease Control has set out criteria to safely reopen states, including downward trajectories in positive cases and robust testing programs, including antibody testing, as well as plans to protect the health and safety of workers and mass transit users. Arizona does not yet meet all of these standards — while our healthcare system appears to have the capacity, our curve of infection is not yet bent — so it was a good decision to extend Arizona’s stay-at-home order until May 15 with modifications. Gov. Ducey said that Arizona is heading in the right direction, and we certainly hope that is the case, but we need more tests and more decreasing trendlines. We would also like to see more transparency, data, and urgency in addressing Arizona’s COVID19 outbreak in areas where it is the most prevalent and potentially deadly including on the Navajo Nation, in our long-term care facilities, and in correctional facilities.”