Ducey warns COVID-19 is widespread

Gov. Doug Ducey during his press conference where he warned COVID-19 is widespread and cases are increasing throughout the state.

Gov. Doug Ducey put the brakes on a phased reopening of the state during a somber press conference Thursday, saying, "We are getting hit hard right now."

“You are safer at home, the virus is widespread," Ducey said during his weekly update. “It’s in all 15 of our counties. It’s growing and it’s growing fast.”

The percentage of positive tests — an indicator of spread — went from 4.9% on May 3, to 20.1 percent this week, he said.

Ducey said his administration is focused on saving lives and protecting livelihoods and that it is not an either/or situation.

The governor said when he lifted the stay-at-home order it “was a green light to proceed, not to speed.”

“We’ve had some speeding in the business community, and we need to slow down,” he said.

Ducey said there have been “bad actors," and warned that they will be held accountable. He thanked local authorities for developing and enforcing guidelines and said about 75% of local governments have instituted face-covering policies, “and I want to enlist everyone else to be part of it.”

The Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Friday requiring face coverings in public. Sahuarita Mayor Tom Murphy said the county did not have jurisdiction in the town and that he would defer to state and CDC guidelines, which recommend but don't require a mask. Murphy did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.

Ducey did not issue another executive order but stressed that it is important for everyone to limit potential exposure to the virus through physical distancing, hand washing, staying home when sick and wearing a mask when distancing cannot be maintained.

“This is Arizona’s first wave, and this will not be our last wave," he said, adding Arizona is among several states setting records for daily cases and hospitalization.

The governor and Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, stressed the importance of increased testing and said the administration is increasing the number of testing sites throughout the state and was able to acquire another piece of testing machinery for Sonora Quest Laboratories.

Ducey said moving on to the next phase or reopening the state won't happen yet.

"There is no consideration of increasing activity. Arizona is on pause," he said.

Major Gen. Michael McGuire of the Arizona National Guard and director of Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, said FEMA will provide 300,000 tests in June and again in July, double the amount they’ve provided previously.

Ducey said hospitals are reaching capacity and some are likely to reach surge capacity soon. However, there are no plans to halt elective surgeries, as was done earlier, and that decision is being left for each hospital to make.