Arizona Prepares For Flu Season As Pandemic Continues

Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 12:36pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 9:17pm
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The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 507 new cases of COVID-19 in our state Sept. 1, bringing the total number of cases confirmed in the state to more than 202,000 cases this year. An additional 15 deaths were also reported, meaning that 5,044 Arizonans have died due to COVID-related illness.

While those numbers are far better than they were two months ago, state officials are asking Arizonans to prepare for a flu season that could exacerbate the pandemic. At a press conference Aug. 31 Gov. Doug Ducey said the overlap means greater challenges this year and a heightened response by the state.

That includes promises to make the vaccine more accessible, even as folks continue to mitigate the spread of COVID.

“As early as next month, when you stop by certain sites for a COVID-19 test, you’ll be able to get a flu shot as well,” Ducey said.

He also said many of the same prevention measures that work for COVID-19 will work for flu prevention, like wearing a mask — even though, at the Aug. 31 press conference, Ducey was not. As a result, he had the following exchange with Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services:

DUCEY: Where I’m anywhere inside that I can’t socially distance or it’s mandated, I’m wearing a mask.

HOWIE FISCHER: But you’re the only one here not wearing one.

DUCEY: I’m, well — the reason I don’t have a mask on right now, Howie, is that I’ve heard from the deaf community that in addition to our skilled sign folks that they sometimes read lips. So, as a courtesy to them, while I’m answering questions, I’m going to have the mask off.

Ducey was the only one at the event not wearing a mask, including other officials, members of his staff and the press. The other speakers, including Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ, kept their masks on during their comments.

In fact, the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has not advocated for anyone to go without a mask. Executive Director Sherri Collins spoke with The Show about this in July.

“We do not want people to take their mask off, but we would like you to let people to think about other alternative communication options, such as clear masks is what we have launched in Arizona. We launched a statewide clear mask program," Collins said.

For more about what the governor had to say about the upcoming flu season, The Show spoke with Fischer of Capitol Media Services. 

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