Ducey Signs New Executive Orders As Arizona Prepares For Coronavirus Case Surges

By Rocio Hernandez, Kathy Ritchie
Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 7:26am
Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 9:01am

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey answers questions Tuesday about his latest package of executive orders on April 7, 2020. With him is Health Service Director Dr. Cara Christ and Tom Betlach, who heads the Department of Economic Security.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued several new executive orders on Tuesday as the state continues to ramp up its efforts against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

One order provides packaging and labeling rules flexibility that will allow restaurants to sell its unused food to the public. 

“Many restaurants have unused commodities — food and otherwise — that could be sold to generate more revenue to pay the bills and help with payroll,” he said.

Following a recent travel advisory by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ducey said Arizona will require New York, New Jersey and Connecticut travelers entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Ducey also issued an order on to better protect older adults and people with intellectual or developmental disabilities from contracting the coronavirus.

The order would require staff at nursing homes, residential care institutions, intermediate care facilities, and medical group homes for people with developmental disabilities to use personal protective equipment, as well as checking staff symptoms, like taking their temperatures.

Ducey’s order also states that if visitation has been restricted, facilities must provide access to a visual form of communication, like FaceTime or Skype.

As of Tuesday, there were 77 confirmed cases of COVID19 at long-term care facilities in Maricopa County and 13 deaths.

Another Tuesday executive order amplifies what details medical providers report on COVID-19 patients such as how many are in ICU beds and how many have been discharged from facilities. 

Arizona’s Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said previously available information shows that 64% of the state’s ICU capacity, 68% of its medical surgical beds and 25% — or nearly 400 — of its state’s ventilators are currently in use. Christ adds that the ventilators are primarily treating needs outside of COVID-19 cases. 

Christ said the state has an additional 1,152 ventilators available and will use $10 million from the public health emergency fund to help hospitals purchase even more.

“Given this investment and the additional information that we’ve acquired through our enhanced surveillance, updated modelling regarding our current ventilator capacity, our request to the health and human services to 342,” Christ said. 

That’s significantly less than Arizona’s original request of 5,000.

Christ said Arizona’s coronavirus cases are still expected to peak between mid- to end of April.

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