Following COVID-19 case increases and hospitalizations, Governor Doug Ducey today announced enhanced actions to contain the spread of the virus and protect Arizona’s most vulnerable residents. The announced actions build on Arizona’s substantial efforts to boost testing, expand contact tracing, secure PPE for health care and frontline workers, fast-track resources to the most affected areas and more.
Additional actions announced today include:
Continuing to boost diagnostic testing, including expanding rapid testing capability;
Amplifying contact tracing in partnership with counties, including utilizing National Guard assets and providing additional resources to counties;
Increasing awareness of distancing and face-covering guidelines, including authorizing local governments to implement enhanced mitigation measures;
Continuing to focus on long-term care settings, including providing $10 million for additional PPE and face masks;
And enhancing guidance for establishments to limit congregating and enforce mitigation policies.
“We remain one hundred percent focused on protecting public health and saving lives,” said Governor Ducey. “As we continue to expand testing and prioritize our most vulnerable populations, today’s stepped-up actions will help further contain the spread of COVID-19 by requiring enhanced compliance with public health guidelines, expanding contact tracing, and providing additional resources to boost local public health efforts. We need to redouble our efforts and we need everyone to do their part. We will continue to closely track the data, work with officials around the state and make this our highest priority.”
Continuing to boost testing
Diagnostic testing in Arizona continues to ramp up, with the most tests conducted on a single day occurring on June 9 (14,106). Over 80 sites across the state of Arizona offer diagnostic testing for COVID-19, and growing. In addition, today’s announcement includes a new partnership with Arizona State University to scale up saliva-based testing developed by the university. The less invasive test will allow for more rapid and accurate results while requiring less PPE, facilitating greater usage at workplaces and health care facilities. The state also has partnered with the University of Arizona to provide 250,000 serology tests to health care and public safety workers and expand antibody testing for correctional officers.
Amplifying contact tracing
Governor Ducey today signed an Executive Order to ensure county public health officers have the support, tools and resources to carry out robust contact tracing. The order provides authority to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to implement a consistent, statewide system for case investigation and contact tracing and makes available up to 300 Arizona National Guard members to boost manpower for contact tracing efforts. In addition, AHDS is providing more than $37 million to enhance contact tracing locally and statewide.
Increasing awareness of distancing and face-covering guidelines
Following outbreaks in select parts of the state, including along the southern border and in northeastern counties, ADHS today released updated guidance allowing local governments to implement mask and face-covering policies and determine enforcement measures. The guidance allows local authorities to tailor mitigation efforts specific to the local public health need.
Governor Ducey also announced an expanded education campaign to make Arizonans aware of public health guidelines. All Arizonans should continue to stay physically distant, stay home when sick and wear face masks.
Continuing to focus on long-term care settings and vulnerable populations
Arizona has placed a high priority on long-term care and nursing facilities, including recently completing testing of all residents in these settings. The Governor also announced today an additional $10 million for more masks and PPE in long-term care facilities to contain and mitigate spread of COVID-19. ADHS will continue to partner with health facilities to prioritize continued testing of all residents and staff.
Enhancing guidance to limit congregating
Arizona’s Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger Executive Order issued on May 12 requires businesses and other entities operating in the state to implement health and safety plans to protect workers and customers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Updated guidance issued today by ADHS requires specific health measures be taken by establishments, including:
Physically distancing of 6 feet;
Providing employees with face-coverings and requiring usage;
Conducting symptom checks for all employees before shifts;
Requiring sick employees to stay home;
And increasing the frequency of employee hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting.
Local law enforcement will have authority for enforcement of these guidelines.