Three weeks after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lifted his stay-at-home order, the state has seen a big spike in the number of coronavirus cases.
With nearly 1,100 dead and hospitalizations spiking rapidly, lawmakers and medical professionals are warning there might not be enough emergency room beds to handle what could be a big influx of new cases.
More than 1,500 new cases were reported along with 25 new deaths in the past 24 hours, officials said.
While Ducey has insisted this “is not a crisis situation” and suggested the rise in the number of cases is due to an increase in testing, critics say otherwise and accuse the Republican governor of setting a bad example by not wearing a mask while out in public.
They say that Arizona residents, who initially took the coronavirus threat seriously, have grown lax about social distancing and face coverings, and that the result is a rise in new cases.
“Arizona is not ready for this,” said State Rep. Kelli Butler, the Democrats’ ranking member of the state’s House Health Committee. “Our hospitals are sounding the alarm. We’re hearing that the hospitals lack the ICU capacity needed to deal with this and key equipment needed to treat people.”
Marcy Flanagan, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, echoed Butler’s concern during a press conference last week.
“We’re starting to see some indicators that the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing in Maricopa County and we have enough information to know these increases are not due to just an increase in testing that is occurring,” said Flanagan, whose county includes Phoenix, the fifth most populous city in the country.
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