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Ducey has no desire to tighten coronavirus restrictions

Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire explains Friday the role the Arizona National Guard will play in helping to restock grocery stores whose shelves have been stripped of many items by shoppers hoarding goods. With him is Gov. Doug Ducey and Cara Christ, the state health director. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire explains Friday the role the Arizona National Guard will play in helping to restock grocery stores whose shelves have been stripped of many items by shoppers hoarding goods. With him is Gov. Doug Ducey and Cara Christ, the state health director. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

Gov. Doug Ducey insisted Friday he has no intent to order Arizonans to stay at home as his counterparts in New York and California have done.

In his latest briefing, the governor said he sees no reason to go beyond his directive issued late Thursday to shutter bars, gyms and movie theaters in counties where there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 and to allow only take-out and delivery services by restaurants. That currently covers nine of the state’s 15 counties.

And Ducey said Friday he has no intention to either expand the restrictions statewide or to add other kinds of businesses where there is close personal contact to the list of businesses that have to close their doors like spas and hair salons, even as the number of confirmed infections reached 68.

The state late Friday also recorded its first death, that of a male in his 50s living in Maricopa County with what state officials said were “underlying health conditions.”

The governor said broader restrictions are not necessary.

“I have no desire to shutter something that would not protect public health,” Ducey said.

The governor acknowledged that the restrictions he has ordered have changed, sometimes over the course of less than 24 hours. But Ducey said there’s a good reason for that.

A sign on the door to American Eagle in The Village inside the Yuma Palms Regional Center states the store is closed until March 28, due to coronavirus and to "Keep Smiling!". (Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP)

A sign on the door to American Eagle in The Village inside the Yuma Palms Regional Center states the store is closed until March 28, due to coronavirus and to “Keep Smiling!”. (Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP)

“Each escalation, declaration and executive order that I have put out has been with the guidance of Dr. Cara Christ (the state health director) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But even without any stay-at-home directive, both the governor and his health director say that’s still their advice, albeit one without enforcement.

“Stay home, especially if you or a loved one have an underlying medical condition or are elderly,” Christ said. “If someone in your household has COVID-19 everyone in the household should stay home until you are recovered.”

And the health director said Arizonans should pretty much forget about actually getting testing to determine if they have the novel coronavirus.

“We continue to face a national shortage of test collection supplies and lab reagents,” Christ said. “There are not enough tests at this time for everyone who wants to be tested.”

But she said that, for those who do not have extreme symptoms like difficulty breathing, knowing whether they have COVID-19 or something else, testing really won’t help them.

“It’s important to be clear: There is no specific treatment for this disease,” Christ said. “And the result of a COVID-19 test will not change your clinical treatment while you are sick.

Friday’s briefing also provided the first indications of what role the National Guard, called out by Ducey late Thursday, will play in restocking stores. The governor said the bare shelves have nothing really to do with an insufficient supply but is instead a direct effect of hoarding.

“There is not a shortage of toilet paper or hand sanitizer or bottled water,” he said.

“This has been binge buying,” the governor said. “This has been caused by the very real fear that is out there.”

And the fact is, Ducey said, there’s no way grocers can keep their shelves stocked at the rate items are being snapped up. That goes to what he said will be the role of the troops.

“We can do big-scale logistics,” said Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard. He said that particularly means moving large quantities of food “that final mile” between warehouses and grocery stores.

Ducey said that’s where the bottleneck is.

“It typically takes two trucks to restock a grocery store,” he said. “Today, in this environment, it’s taking 12 trucks.”

That’s where the soldiers fit it, driving trucks and unloading pallets of goods.

McGuire said there may be situations where soldiers are actually helping not just unload pallets of items but actually are ensuring that items get onto shelves.

“But I can tell you with only 8,000 of us we can’t stock every store in the state,” he said. More to the point, the general said that’s not what he has in mind for his soldiers.

“I hope that we are a bridging strategy to have those types of duties filled by community members that are not feeling ill that want to support their community, either go to work for these food companies or come in as volunteers,” McGuire said. He said the better use of soldiers would be for those things for which his troops have been trained.

Consider, he said, a situation where a commercial truck driver calls in sick.

“We have a commercial truck driver that can fill in that gap,” the general said.

“That’s better use for me than to have folks unpack pallets,” McGuire continued. “But we’ll do whatever we need to do to first bridge this gap.”

The general said the initial call up is only about 200.

He could not provide an estimate of how many soldiers eventually would be involved in the operation.

“Over the weekend, we’re going to be adding to that,” he said. But McGuire made it clear that there are Guard troops doing other jobs in the private sector that are better off where they are.

“If I pull in doctors, nurses, medics that are already working in our local hospitals, it’s a zero-sum game,” he said.

Groceries aside, one issue is medical supplies, particularly ventilators that may be needed for hospitals to treat people with respiratory problems.

Christ said the state has anywhere from 1,500 to 1,800 beds in intensive-care units. She said her agency is trying to find out where there are ventilators, not only as hospitals but out-patient surgical facilities and training centers.

“And we are putting in an additional request for federal ventilators,” Christ said.

The governor said Arizonans need to recognize that the situation created by the outbreak is not going to go away any time soon.

“We don’t have any illusions about this fight,” he said.

“We are in this for the long haul,” Ducey said. “I think it’s important that people begin to think of this as a marathon and not a sprint.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect one death has been reported in the death. 

 

 

20 comments

  1. Yes This confirms that Doug Doucey is the most idiotic governor in AZ history

  2. Joie (Johanna) Duncan

    Without the enforcement some of us are forced to go to work at some chain hair salons and not being able to social distance in fear of both losing our jobs as well as getting sick!!!!

  3. Arizona needed Governor Ducey to give a STAY-AT-HOME order – before today.

    It appears that Covid-19 has been spreading for weeks, from people who had no or few symptoms, which means the nation and Arizona is behind in measures to stop/slow spread of Covid-19.
    Dr. Anthony Fauci, says “…when you’re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases outbreak, you are always behind where you think you are if you think that today reflects where you really are.”

    Many States/communities have been REACTING based on Covid-19 cases in their state, but when the Covid-19 cases are significant enough for government to take measures, then the State is already behind as cases will mostly likely surge quickly.

    People are still unaware of how contagious Covid-19 is. People are still unaware that the US, with earlier leadership on Covid-19, could have prevented the escalation in Covid-19 cases that we are and will continue to see (South Korea got control over the outbreak in about a month and a half).

  4. Yep, Republicans at all levels are more concerned with money & businesses than with contagion confinement. Vote them OUT this year!!!!

  5. Arizona – Killing for the view & dying for a vacation! The new tourist model. Northern Arizona still has tourist wandering about from other countries, RV people wondering why we got no toilet paper. Yup people are believing that old “Not me, Not here ****”. If course the pandemic will only happen to other people.

    My husband never fully recovered from pheumonia last year possibly having COPD sees no reason to stay home or wear a mask! Delusional as the tourist I see at work, the people still licking their fingers to count money. He’s going to go to bank, store, pick up parts for the boat & anyplace he wants until he gets sick enough to keep him home. He doesn’t have insurance so he won’t seek treatment, still mad about being forced into treatment for pheumonia, I work for a major grocery chain & won’t get paid unless quarantined! He’s going to kill people, am I going to kill people!?! What should I do??? I’m in the group to get mild symptoms but spread Covid-19 to everyone that comes into my store. So I’m using a mask – being threatened at work and at home trying my best but it seems everyone wants to die or kill someone so they can keep the illusion of life as normal. Heck, I see so many children in the stores, German tourist asked for help with their credit card today, it expires the end of the month and they can’t even return to their own country and are wandering in Arizona on vacation.

    I’m also former EMT if it gets bad I could help my hospital but feels like there’s no damn point if so many people want to be vectors for this pandemic!!! And am I being forced into spreading it because of the people around me?? I leave work shaking on the drive home.

  6. I am so disappointed at the ignorance that is plaguing our governor. What a complete lack of what is best for the community as a whole. How many people have to get sick before he will follow some of the other states regulations. We are going to turn into a huge hot zone if things do not change. We are at 152 persons infected, but I have a feeling that the number is going to multiply by the end of next week.

  7. I am in the high risk category, but without a stay at home order, I’m forced to go to work or fear losing my job. I cannot believe Ducey hasn’t ordered it yet. He says were not there yet, but our State Parks are crowded and people are still running around doing non-essential shopping without a care in the world. Isnt the time its needed is now when we still have a chance to stop the spread of this virus and save more people from dying. He’s been behind from the very beginning of this crisis and continues to remain behind. I know who I wont be voting for in the next election. This is not the kind of leadership we need. Ducey, you need to order the stay at home before this gets worse.

  8. This is not good. Not acceptable. People are still out and about like there is nothing going on. This is spreading and the longer Ducey takes to makes changes the worse it will get. Perhaps when we have more deaths he will take it seriously and start protecting the people of Arizona. From what I can see today he is more concerned with money & businesses than with contagion confinement.

  9. So Ducey talks to another moron, Pence, who assures him it will all be ok. We are officially doomed people. We are getting 0 leadership from above both in the State and US Capitals. We have 2 adjoining states on basic lock-down and we have thousands wandering through the parks potentially exposing multiple people there and back at their homes to the virus. I am so glad our politicians know more than our scientists, they must have taken chemistry as an elective back in the day before public office…

  10. You do realize corona virus and influenza are seasonal illnesses? Are you going to ruin the economy every year now for the average seasonal cold and flu viruses? you do realize there are far more deadly viruses out there that kill millions every year? Ever hear of AIDS for example? Im sure it it politics and money , billions of dollars being misappropriated for a farce. A seasonal illness that doesn’t even deserve its own charity.

  11. The idea is to shut down before we have to. What is wrong with Ducey that he does not get this? It’s just stupid to let hair salons, etc. remain open. If they are open then people think it is OK and everything is fine and will go. These are not essential services. People will survive if their hair and nails are not done. It is just playing with fire.

  12. Arizona needs Governor Ducey to give a STAY-AT-HOME order……now , not later….it would be too late.
    It appears to be working in other parts of the world.
    Dr. Tom Z Ret. Psychologist

  13. WHY not issue stay home? Are we trying to be like New York – Covid spread. I went to the store and nobody covers their mouths and it’s almost like everyone like nothing happened. Cyring out loud Phoenix busses are still running. He needs to go.

  14. The governor needs to shut down the state. The longer he waits the worst the outcome will be. When is he going to wake up?

  15. Governor Ducey is ignorant and obviously doesn’t realize that if he would order a lockdown, this COVID-19 would not spread and hopefully leave sooner than later. Those poor people are forced to go to work and risk their health and families health just because he is not educated as to what is going on. Governor Ducey, you do not deserve to be in office and I am ashamed we have you as Governor of Arizona. I pray your family does not suffer due to your ignorance.

  16. What is the Governor’s problem instead of preparing for the worst why not try to prevent the worst!!! I am disgusted with our Governor’s actions in regards to this outbreak I think he should be thrown out of office what is it going to take? I actually believe he wants to filter the population by killing people who are weaker like myself. Thanks Governor Dicey for helping to protect us NOT if it is to hot get out….I honestly think this man needs to be fired.

  17. Republican here: What in the hell is going on? Does he
    Not get it? Is he not seeing what’s happening in the world? My school district says our kids are going back April 10. They said the are waiting for Ducey to give the go-ahead to close schools until the end of the year!
    Make a decision damn it!

  18. Also a republican. Horrible job across the board from all of our state politicians. (on both sides). Truly abysmal. Ive lived here all my live and am embarrassed for our state right now.

  19. Christ and Ducey _ Im sorry I have no faith in either of you and your concerns are geared towards money and not protecting the masses or stopping spread. Shut down your essential list and challenge each and every item on that list and ask if it is a need or want. I think you have it very much confused.
    Some of you have many lives at stake……YOUR NOT LOOKING AT FACTS>>>> THE SCIENCE ISNT DIFFERENT FROM STATE TO STATE

  20. A Governor, albeit I have learned this nearer the end of life than I should have, has a duty to protect the entire state of Arizona in a scientifically proven pandemic, as with Coronavirus type Covid19, and without first reflecting on her/his political beliefs. When I am sick I listen to my doctor, not my local politician or district chairwoman. I learned the City of Tucson’s Police Chief requested 80,000 PPE’s to protect his 850 officers through this pandemic and received 80. I think that is a tenth of a percent from the government stockpile. That made me upset and so much of this is making me fume as Arizona was once through to be sort of immune from large hits from epidemics, yet during SARS we lost hundreds to death and were one of the top states for morbidity. As much as President Trump might mean well, even I find him more than confusing during the CDC/NIH,HHS,DSH Daily Briefings. Back in the old days we’d say **** or get off the pot! So do we wear a protective mask daily or not? Use common sense, fellow Americans, wear a mask. And don’t forget to vote.

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