It was Friday evening, March 27, when I recorded the video below. Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ had just announced that they would de-prioritizing Coronavirus testing in a state with already dismal testing rates, a climbing infection rate, and no statewide shelter in place order. Four Democratic mayors Kate Gallego (Phoenix), Regina Romero (Tucson), Cora Evans (Flagstaff), and Ana Tovar (Tolleson) bravely bucked the governor and called for the shutdown of bars and restaurants in their cities. Now LD11 Senator Vince Leach is threatening Evans and the City of Flagstaff with an SB1487 preemption challenge because their rule is more restrictive than Ducey’s executive order. Seriously, Leach? You’re more concerned about power and politics– than you are about widespread disease and death?
Arizona needs more widespread testing to track and control the spread of the virus– not less. The number of confirmed cases in Arizona has almost doubled between my March 24 Coronavirus video and the March 27 video below. Now, on March 29, there are almost three times as many cases as there were five days ago. At that point, Arizona had 326 confirmed cases of novel Coronavirus, on Friday, there were 665, and today we have 919. The number of cases in Maricopa County has doubled in three days from 199 (March 24) to 399 (March 27) and is now at 545 (March 29). Pima County was at 42 (March 24) and more than doubled to 102 (March 27); now we are at 153 (March 29). Navajo County is also on the critical list. They have a relatively small population, compared to Maricopa and Pima, but for a while last week, Navajo was second only to Maricopa County in confirmed cases. Navajo had 32 cases (March 24) which jumped to 49 on Friday and 62 cases today (March 29). For the Navajo Nation as a whole, there are 115 confirmed cases. This is a tragic situation because their communities are far flung, roads are often rough, Internet is sketchy, and medical services are stretched thin… in normal times. These are not normal times.
We need widespread testing in the state of Arizona, so we can see where potential hotspots are. The bridge tournament in Tucson over the weekend of March 7-8 (right before the social distancing recommendations from the federal government) has received attention because one of the attendees had the Coronavirus and exposed hundreds of other people. One woman who handled the cards of the infected man died; another person who spent time with him at the conference has tested positive. According to news stories, the Adobe Bridge Club is trying to contact the 700 conference attendees of their exposure, but the Pima County Health Department hasn’t. WHAT?!
The Arizona Department of Health Services reports the total cases each day, statewide and by county and how many people were tested. I have not been able to find more detailed data. At a national conference last fall for state legislators, they talked about the importance of transparent government data. When federal, state and local governments put de-identified data online, random data nerds (like me), academics,￼ policy wonks, and college students can analyze it independently and potentially find trends– or mistakes. When you’re talking about public health data, more eyes on the data and more questions asked of the data are always a good thing.
Hundreds were at same Arizona event as coronavirus patient. 2 weeks later, officials haven’t contacted them
2nd coronavirus case linked to Arizona bridge tournaments attended by hundreds of people
Gov. Doug Ducey orders private laboratories to share COVID-19 test data
One thought on “Arizona’s Stumbling Response to #Coronavirus Will Cost Lives (video)”
Thank you for this and your strong advocacy. I have emailed the Gov 4 times so far with similar info that you’ve tested as well as the need to build temporary hospitals. One of my co-worker’s boyfriend works in the mine in Sahuarita. One of the workers there has Corona virus. There are 2000 workers there. If we had a statewide shelter in place order, I would hope the mines would be closed. As it stands now-it is ripe for a CVD-19 explosion. What can we do to help? Thank you, Nancy C. Faria
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