Nov 18, 2020

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript November 18

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript November 18
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsArizona Gov. Doug Ducey COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript November 18

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey held a press conference on November 18 to provide coronavirus updates. He encouraged everyone to wear masks. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.

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Doug Ducey: (03:24)
Good afternoon, everyone. It’s good to see you. I want to start today with an update from Dr. Cara Christ on the latest of COVID-19. And then I’m going to come and I have some comments. We’ll get an update from General Maguire. And then we’ll be happy to take some of your questions. Dr. Christ.

Dr. Cara Christ: (03:47)
Thank you, Governor Ducey. I wanted to provide an update on the trends our public health experts are seeing in Arizona and steps everyone can take to protect their loved ones, especially with Thanksgiving coming up. Arizona, like the rest of the nation, continues to see a concerning increase in cases, percent positivity and COVID-19 patients in ICU and inpatient beds. To date, a total of 283,102 cases have been reported to public health. And sadly, we’ve lost 6,365 Arizonans to COVID. Last week, the week of November 8th, all but two counties had a percent positivity above 10%, which meets the substantial category for percent positivity. And this week, we are trending higher. Each county also has a case rate that exceeds 100 per 100,000 people, which also meets the substantial category for that metric. Our COVID-like illness metric is trending upwards, indicating increased visits to the emergency room and admissions to the hospital for COVID-19.

Dr. Cara Christ: (04:57)
These metrics are heading in the wrong direction. My team is working with public health, hospital officials and through public education and enforcement of our existing mitigation measures to address the recent rise in cases. Last week, CDC released important updates to their mask data and guidance. Importantly, we know now that masks provide more protection than previously thought. The new studies recently show that wearing a mask can also protect you from the infectious droplets of other people. I can’t stress this enough. We recommend that all Arizonans wear masks in every setting, including public settings, public transportation, at indoor and outdoor events, gatherings, and in private settings. Arizonans should wear a mask any time they will be around other people who do not live in their household.

Dr. Cara Christ: (05:55)
With the holidays approaching, we ask all Arizonans to make plans for Thanksgiving that include moving your celebrations outside, reducing the size of your gathering, wearing a mask if you are around people who do not live with you, staying physically distanced, washing your hands frequently and celebrating virtually with your loved ones if you are higher risk, elderly, sick, or have been recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. These simple steps will help slow the spread and help reduce the risk of increased cases after the holiday. So we want all Arizonans to stay safe during the holiday. Thank you.

Doug Ducey: (06:37)
Thanks very much, Dr. Christ. It’s been eight months since I issued a public health emergency in the state of Arizona. We announced it right here in this room. And I know many in our state are asking, “When will it end?” The answer is that’s not on the horizon. Arizona and our nation remain in a public health emergency, and getting back to normal isn’t in the cards right now. Dr. Christ has just walked you through the numbers. They are rising here and all around the nation. And as we’ve stated before, they have been for several weeks. The truth is this has been a long haul. You can’t simplify or underestimate the impact this has had on so many Arizonans. And so when I say we just aren’t out of the woods quite yet, or that we need to redouble our efforts, I know that these are not easy asks. And I don’t want to underestimate how big an ask it is. But it is our ask today. It’s my ask.

Doug Ducey: (07:58)
Some straight talk. There are two extreme and distinct camps out there. One side wants to lock everything down. The other side thinks it’s all a hoax. Both are loud and vocal. Most of the public isn’t part of either camp. And by the way, neither am I. Masks work. Please wear them. They are required nearly everywhere in Arizona outside your home, schools, restaurants, gyms, barbershops, stores, retail and more. We’ve known for a while that a mask protects others. But a new study from the Centers for Disease Control released last week confirms that they also protect you. It’s just one more reason why you should wear a mask.

Doug Ducey: (09:08)
Many of the policies that we put in place over the summer are still in place today. Nearly 90% of the state is under a local mask mandate. And statewide, masks are required in restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, and more. Restaurants and movie theaters are operating at 50% capacity. Gyms are operating at 25% capacity. Bars have implemented mitigation strategies and transformed their operations to operate as restaurants. And if they haven’t, they remain closed. And all of these establishments have implemented strict COVID-19 mitigation strategies, including physical distancing requirements, masks and moving outside. And those remain in place.

Doug Ducey: (10:09)
But there is more we can do to mitigate the spread and prepare. Today, Dr. Cara Christ and her team at the Department of Health Services are releasing official guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving safely. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I want everyone to enjoy it, safely. The guidance provided is pure common sense. We’re asking the public to be smart and to be responsible by following public health guidelines Dr. Christ put together and limit gatherings inside your home. We’ve been communicating with Arizonans since February about the risks of COVID-19 and how to contain the spread. And I’d say Arizona has been a leader on this. You can’t drive or go anywhere in our state without seeing messaging about masks and physical distancing. And Arizonans have been good at following the guidance. But Arizonans aren’t the only ones here anymore. We have thousands of people arriving from the Midwest and East coast and elsewhere.

Doug Ducey: (11:26)
So we’re amplifying our messaging and doubling our investment in public service announcements to ensure every individual in the state knows what steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones, from wearing a mask, to getting tested, to maintaining physical distance. As more snowbirds arrive and holiday visitors travel to Arizona, many are entering through the airport. It’s the gateway to Arizona. I’ve asked Dr. Christ to work with Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Mesa Gateway Airport and Tucson International Airport on inbound messaging around the importance of wearing masks and information on where travelers can get tested. But we need more than just messaging. We also need more specific targeted testing. So I’m also asking Dr. Christ to work directly with Sky Harbor, Tucson International and Phoenix Mesa Gateway to launch testing sites on premise at the airport. This will allow incomers to get tested immediately with quick turnaround. She and her team will be reaching out ASAP to get this moving.

Doug Ducey: (12:52)
On schools, I think you’ve heard me say this before. I think children should be in school. I want parents to have options. And one of those options should be in-person learning. Despite the best efforts of teachers and parents, no one can argue, kids have already missed out on far too much learning due to this pandemic. We want to keep our schools safe. They are already required to have mask policies. But Dr. Christ will be issuing an emergency measure to make sure schools statewide are implementing those policies on school grounds and on school buses. Our frontline medical workers have been so dedicated and working around the clock since the beginning of this pandemic, nonstop, putting their own lives at risk.

Doug Ducey: (14:03)
… stop, putting their own lives at risk, and we are grateful for the work they do and the skill they have. Today, I’m directing $25 million to boost and support staffing at our hospitals. These dollars can pay for higher staff costs due to the current demand and allow hospitals to reward their existing direct care employees with bonuses for their dedication.

Doug Ducey: (14:34)
Some hope and a positive light at the end of the tunnel, the news of the successful vaccines is very positive and optimistic, and I want Arizona to be prepared, and I’ll commit to you that Arizona will be prepared. Today, we’ve learned that the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and Moderna has a vaccine that is also 95% effective. Earlier this year, Dr. Christ dissembled a vaccine task force and they have been actively working to ensure the effective distribution of these vaccines once they are available.

Doug Ducey: (15:23)
And to support these efforts, today I’m issuing an executive order extending the enhanced surveillance advisory to collect information on these vaccinations. This will ensure that all Arizonans who want the vaccine will receive the appropriate followup doses at the correct time. It will also allow the state to identify and support vulnerable populations and underserved communities.

Doug Ducey: (15:56)
And I want you to know, in addition to this focus 100% on COVID-19 and the pandemic, there is good work going on across our state government. I was able yesterday to meet with some members of my cabinet, and I want to report on some of the work that’s happening across our state.

Doug Ducey: (16:17)
To minimize in person interactions during the pandemic, the Department of Transportation has evolved to serve more customers online and over the phone. Partnerships with private sector companies also are leading to more opportunities for Arizonans to receive more services virtually. The Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Re-entry has partnered with Dr. Christ and her team to expand testing to all inmates and staff and implement mitigation measures, such as providing PPE and sanitation supplies. They’ve also utilized video teleconferencing to ensure staff collaboration and keep inmates connected with loved ones.

Doug Ducey: (17:06)
At the Department of Veteran Services, Colonel Wanda Wright is implementing mitigation protocols at veterans’ homes and facilitating connections between families and loved ones. The Department of Administration has collaborated with state and local election officials to help ensure safe elections. They’ve also increased COVID-19 testing to state employees and the public. And at the Department of Child Safety, Mike Faust and the agency, and the dedicated state employees have prioritized maintaining vital in person visits to carry out Arizona’s commitment to strengthen families and achieve permanency for our children in need. Since March, these efforts have led to more than 3000 kids being reunified with their families and more than 1700 adoptions. And more than 730 members of our brave Arizona National Guard are deployed across the state, responding to this pandemic, assisting public health efforts, protecting communities, and serving Arizonians. And with that, we’ll get an update from Major General Mick McGuire. General?

Mick McGuire: (18:34)
Thank you, Governor. Good afternoon. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to update the citizens of this great state on the activities of their neighbors, their classmates, their parishioners, our Arizona National Guardsman. As many of you have heard me say over the last eight months, we have deployed nearly 1000 of them just for this response alone. And as the governor mentioned today, just short of 730 of them are still on duty and intend to continue to serve the community with our primary lines of effort in food security and sustainment and the missions that we’re doing in the food bank and food distribution to rural areas and tribal communities, and continue to use our small but mighty medical task force to work with nursing homes, tribal public health partners, school nurses, and the rest to quickly train them on the new antigen BinaxNOW test that’s being distributed widely under the direction of Dr. Christ.

Mick McGuire: (19:32)
I know over the last eight months, there’s been a lot of questions about how emergency management works, how we synchronize the forces of those incident command systems at the hospitals in our EMTs and fire departments, paramedics and police, and how we work with counties. And ultimately our role as the middleman is to provide gap coverage and surge capacity. And I just want to let every Arizonian know, I couldn’t be prouder of the way we’ve worked together with our local communities, with our state leaders that develop policy and put resources at the area of greatest need.

Mick McGuire: (20:13)
And in the military, we understand that hope is the most important portion of what makes us successful. And we are not hopeless. We are confident that we have a vaccine in sight. We have a way to rapidly test folks and to keep those most vulnerable in our community safe. And every soldier and airman in the Arizona guard is fully committed to supporting those most vulnerable.

Mick McGuire: (20:40)
And look no further than our organization. Eight months, we have not taken a knee. Right now, of the 8,200 of us that serve over that eight month period of time, we have about a 3% infection rate for COVID-19. We’d like it to be zero, but it shows you that we can manage that through good mitigation and continue to meet the needs of the citizens. And to show you that this is the next greatest generation in a typical quarter, we shoot to recruit 90 guardsmen, one a day, over a 90 day period. In the quarter from June ending in September, we were able to bring in 163 youngsters that want to serve proudly as volunteers in the Arizona Guard. They want to be your neighbors helping you out at this greatest time. And Governor, I thank you for letting them be the next greatest generation. So thank you very much and we’ll continue to serve proudly.

Doug Ducey: (21:39)
Thanks very much general. And again, thank you for the good work of the National Guard. Finally, I want to echo something Dr. Christ said earlier. We have lost 6,365 individuals to COVID-19 in the state of Arizona. Each one is an Arizonian and I’d ask that you please join me for a moment of silence, prayer, and reflection for them and their families. Thank you. And with that, we will take some questions. Patrick?

Patrick: (22:38)
[inaudible 00:08:41].

Stephanie: (22:41)
Hi, Governor. I wanted to know what is stopping you from imposing a statewide mask mandate when there are areas like Graham County that don’t have them and the cases there are rising rapidly?

Doug Ducey: (22:56)
So Stephanie, I want people to wear masks. Masks work. We have been putting dollars and resources to amplify the mask message. We’ve got 90% of our state under local mask mandates. And what I want to do is take something that I believe works, that we have confidence does work, and make sure we have the widest and broadest compliance possible. And we’ve seen a lot of success with it at the local level where there is local buy-in and local leadership. And what I want to avoid is some of the division and politics that have happened around this issue. So to me, the pinnacle is participation and cooperation. And what I’ve seen and from what I’ve heard, we’re having a lot of that in the state of Arizona. That’s what I want to continue.

Patrick: (23:56)
We’ve got a Matt [inaudible 00:09: 56].

Matt: (24:00)
Governor, welcome back.

Doug Ducey: (24:01)
Hey, Matt.

Matt: (24:01)
Couple of questions. We’ll start with COVID. You look at the trends now and a lot of health officials will say they look very similar to that brutal summer we have. You talked about the money for the hospitals, and it’s my understanding that one of the reasons hospitals were able to keep staff is because we brought people in from out of state, traveling nurses and staff. With the infection rates so high around the country, they don’t think they’re going to be able to do that anymore. So is this money enough? Or basically set another way, do we have enough staff to take care of people who might be a part of this upcoming possible spike?

Doug Ducey: (24:41)
Yeah. Very good question and also what we’re anticipating. Now, I want to highlight how contagious the virus is, how widespread it is. But when you are looking across the country to where Arizona is on comparison to what would be called the hot spots states, we’re in a much different situation today. What we’re anticipating is, just like we’ve been talking since August, why we put such a focus on the fall and flu shots and mitigations is that we avoid those types of spikes going forward.

Doug Ducey: (25:18)
So I know that we have the hospital capacity. We have an incredible staff, doctors, nurses, emergency medical providers that are working right now. Is it enough money? I don’t know. But if we need more money, we have access to more money. What we wanted to do is shore up our resources right now, make sure that we are prepared for whatever is coming. We won’t be flat-footed. We’re going to be vigilant and focused the entire time. So it’s something that we’re going to talk about and update, of course, the numbers on a daily basis and as things change or as we have needs as necessary.

Patrick: (26:01)
One more, Matt.

Matt: (26:01)
Next question is about the election. For a lot of people, you are the face of the Republican party here in the state. There’s a faction of the party here in the state that is pushing a lot of debunked claims at this point about the election and the trust in it. There’s some Republicans in this state who are accepting the results. Do you think it lies with you to just say, “Hey, there was no nonsense about these elections. They were safe,” and put a stop to this? And I guess the last part of it is do you accept the results of the election?

Doug Ducey: (26:38)
First, let me say, I think I’ve gone out of my way before the election to talk about my confidence in Arizona’s election system. I think we do elections well in Arizona, and I think we are a good government state. And I stand by all those statements. I’ve also said that we are going to count all the votes in Arizona. We are going to allow whatever legal challenges that come to be swiftly adjudicated inside the state of Arizona and that I will respect the election results.

Matt: (27:15)
But as of right now, you don’t because you’re waiting for that?

Doug Ducey: (27:17)
Well, there are legal claims that are being challenged in court, and everybody on the ballot has certain access, rights, and remedies. And if they want to push that, they are able. Once those are adjudicated and the process plays out, I will accept the results of the election. Matt, I do think that you get your day in court. This isn’t the first time this has happened in our country. And you get your day in court.

Matt: (27:48)
But the Secretary of State-

Patrick: (27:50)
[inaudible 00:27:50] We’re going to go to Mark Phillips with 15X. [inaudible 00:27:53]

Matt: (27:52)
You probably saw the Secretary of State say she’s getting death threats because of these nonsense-

Doug Ducey: (27:57)
Can I address that directly?

Matt: (27:58)
Sure.

Doug Ducey: (27:59)
Okay. That’s unacceptable. Completely unacceptable, and I-

Doug Ducey: (28:03)
… unacceptable. Completely unacceptable, and I denounce any threats of violence against anyone in elective office or any Arizonan or American. So that’s different than a court challenge. A court challenge will play itself out. But it’s completely unacceptable, any threats of violence. I also want you to know that our office is working with Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, for any additional DPS resources that are necessary in any way to protect her.

Speaker 5: (28:40)
Mark Young, please. Thank you.

Mark Young: (28:42)
Hi, Governor. Good to see you again. I have a question to you about leadership. When I woke up this morning, three numbers struck me, 3,200 new cases, 53 deaths, 20 days since we’d saw you. You’ve referred in your earlier comments about the divide between those who believe masks are the answer and those who want nothing to do with them. With the holidays coming and just the fact that there are a lot of senior citizens who are watching right now, we want to see and hear from you. What does the governor have to say? Why are we doing it? And explain. So my question is, why 20 days, sir? Why don’t we see more of you leading the state through what is a very moving target, COVID-19?

Doug Ducey: (29:29)
So, I want to say that I know it’s my role to communicate. I’ve gone out of my way to over-communicate on these issues and will continue to do that. There’s a number of ways that you can communicate as governor. Now, we did have an election. I was in front of you before the election happened. I wasn’t going to be just another politician coming to the lectern the week after the election, before there was certainty. We still have some uncertainty left, but we’ve been communicating. Dr. Christ, who’s our Chief Medical Officer, has been out and about and in front of the press and doing media interviews, and she’ll continue to do that. And I do think you should have an expectation that we communicate, and we’ll continue to do that. I’d like to say, because I’ve heard and I’m listening to the media on this issue, we started to address this pandemic in this room eight months ago. I’ve been in front of you 40 plus times since then. That’s an average of more than once a week. And we’ll continue to be in front of you.

Speaker 5: (30:49)
We’re going to go to Zoom next. We’re going to go to Peter Samore from KTAR via Zoom. Peter, go ahead.

Peter Samore: (30:57)
Governor, I know you’ve been saying you want to keep everything as open as possible to keep the economy going. What metric would you need to see in the event we shut down bars, restaurants, schools and gyms? How bad does it have to get before you consider that?

Doug Ducey: (31:12)
So Peter, I have said before that we’re on the other side of the pandemic, and I think that has been misunderstood to a certain degree. I think we know a lot more today than we did in March and April. We also had a real concern about hospital capacity and PPE and ventilators, et cetera. And if you look at where Arizona is today versus where we were before the summer spike, you can see in hindsight that when we did have our surge in cases and hospitalizations, it was when we all came inside, by and large, in June, when we hit the triple digits. With the knowledge that we have, and also we did put declarative mitigation steps out there, from the opportunity to mandate masks, the fact that we reduced capacity inside our restaurants. For a period of time, our gyms and bars were shuttered.

Doug Ducey: (32:23)
I never held a press conference after we got out of that danger zone to say that everything had been lifted. Because it was not lifted. It was adjusted and moderated once we were out of the maximum challenge, so that we could operate safely inside a restaurant. Like I said, bars have been transformed into restaurants. Otherwise, they’re not open. Gyms are at 25% capacity with people wearing masks, and the same with movie theaters. So I believe today, and we’ll monitor, adjust and change as necessary, but we’ve got the right mitigation steps in place, and we’re going to keep pressing.

Speaker 5: (33:13)
We’ll come back. We’ll go to Howie.

Howie: (33:14)
Hi governor. Let me come back to the election for a bit. You’re no stranger to politics. Have you seen any evidence in Arizona of fraud or deceit in the election?

Doug Ducey: (33:27)
What I said on this is there are challenges in front of the courts. I’m going to let the court process play out. But in terms of your question specifically, any widespread fraud or irregularity, that I have not seen. I’ve heard about it, but I’ve not seen it. I’m not really briefed on the specifics of what court cases are going to be put in front of the court, and it’s not just in Arizona. It’s I think also in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, both at state and federal level. I do think these should have the chance to be heard, and that whatever rights or remedies available to the campaigns that they want to pursue, it’s their right to do that.

Howie: (34:17)
Understood. There’s one court case, and it has to do with whether you do an audit by precinct or vote center. Yet, we have thousands, tens of thousands, particularly of Republicans, yelling about fraud. When are we going to hear for you to tell these people to shut the hell up because there is no evidence?

Doug Ducey: (34:35)
Howie, I’ve said and I’ve bragged on Arizona’s election process. That we’re good at elections. We’re one of the pioneers in terms of how we handle elections in Arizona. There are questions and those questions should be answered, but I couldn’t have been more emphatic in terms of how I think about Arizona elections and how we conduct them. The cases where there is evidence and it’s in front of the court system are going to be heard.

Speaker 5: (35:12)
Thank you. I’m going to go to Michael from 12 News.

Michael: (35:12)
I have a question. Following up on that, with the silence that we’ve heard from you since election day, are you afraid that’s leading to any more uncertainty when it comes to this? Because a lot of people look to you, as we mentioned, on guidance on whether or not we can trust our elections.

Doug Ducey: (35:25)
And as I’ve said, we can trust our elections here in Arizona. And I’m going to respect the results of the election. But we are going to let the legal process play out. I have differentiated Arizona. And I do think because our system of mail-in voting started in 1992, it’s been stewarded by both Democrat and Republican Secretaries of State over the decade plus, that it’s come to the level of success that it has right now. And it is different than other states. It wasn’t implemented in six months. It wasn’t an experiment or an exploration. And I also think the way we conduct things in Phoenix are different than in the city of Philadelphia. And we will let the legal process play out.

Michael: (36:20)
But some of those processes that we’ve seen, whether it be Sharpie Gate, or people talking about the green button being pressed, those things that aren’t actually in court right now, are those bupkis right now?

Doug Ducey: (36:30)
Well, I’ve heard those same things. If you have evidence and you have witnesses, then you go to court. Those are the claims that will be heard. And we’ve got a separate and co-equal branch, and there will be decisions.

Michael: (36:46)
So do you plan on certifying the election by the November 30-31st deadline?

Doug Ducey: (36:50)
There’s a process to certification that begins at the county level. I’m going to follow law and follow the process. Of course I am.

Speaker 5: (36:57)
Billy, go ahead please.

Billy Harfosh: (36:58)
Thank you, governor. Billy Harfosh, iHeartRadio. Shifting gears, two topics. First one on your executive order on the vaccine. A lot of Arizonans want to know. We understand probably frontline workers are going to get it first and then possibly nursing homes. Who’s next in line? Who gets that vaccine next? And secondly, have you spoken to Joe Biden’s Coronavirus Task Force? I know you’ve been working with the White House throughout the pandemic. Have you spoken to them? And when do you make that transition?

Doug Ducey: (37:24)
So, first thing on the vaccines, that’s part of the reason Dr. Christ has put together this task force. I think it only makes sense, although I’m going to defer to public health, that we put our doctors, nurses, staff inside our hospitals, along with long-term care and our most vulnerable populations. I’m thinking of the Native American community and some of the communities that have been more affected by this. And it’s not just the vaccine and a successful vaccine, it’s vaccinations. And this is an incredible logistical undertaking. And that’s why I say that Arizona will be prepared on doing this, and we’ll continue to do that. And give me the second question.

Billy Harfosh: (38:08)
You’ve been working with the White House Coronavirus Task Force throughout this, led by Vice President Mike Pence. Have you talked to Joe Biden’s Coronavirus Task Force? He already has a team in place. And if not, when do you plan on speaking with them?

Doug Ducey: (38:21)
So we’re continuing to work, but with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. I mean, these are people whose names you all know. And like I said, let’s let the election process play out in terms of the legal challenges. But no one’s reached out. And Dr. Christ, do you want to talk a little bit about the vaccinations and the logistical undertaking that that will take?

Dr. Cara Christ: (38:42)
Sure. So we are anticipating by the beginning of the year to have a COVID vaccine here in Arizona. There are some logistical things that we have to take into consideration. And that was one of the important parts of the enhanced surveillance is it’s a two dose series. And whatever presentation you get, you have to have the same… Like if it’s the Moderna, you have to have the Moderna for the second dose. So we want to make sure that we have the information to recall people the 21 to 28 days, and that we know what dose they get in case they go to a different provider.

Dr. Cara Christ: (39:18)
This is something though that we do all the time. We manage the state’s Vaccine for Children’s program. So we are used to working with CDC to get vaccine out to the groups and to the areas that need to get it. So we will have an advisory committee. Once the FDA approves it and gives the emergency use authorization, the government will tell us what groups should be prioritized. But you are absolutely correct. It’s going to be healthcare workers, first responders, nursing care homes, and then vulnerable populations, which could have either people that are at higher risk, such as very specific populations, or geographical areas as well.

Speaker 5: (40:00)
We’ll go to Nicole from 15.

Nicole: (40:03)
Hi governor. In a scripted video this week, you said we’ve been able to keep the blood pumping through the economy while fighting COVID-19. Are you prioritizing pumping blood into the economy over people?

Doug Ducey: (40:17)
No. I’ve been prioritizing lives the entire time. And I’ll continue to prioritize lives. COVID-19 has been the number one priority of the administration since we had our original press conference in this room. We have tried to do this in a way that protects lives and prioritizes them over anything else, while also safely protecting livelihoods. It’s resulted in some targeted decisions and steps that we’ve had to make to basically slow the spread, break up large group gatherings. And to date, with all the challenges in front of us, we continue to press on that front, prioritizing lives.

Nicole: (41:05)
Except for the executive actions last spring, you’ve described your approach as a soft approach.

Doug Ducey: (41:11)
I’ve not used the word soft.

Nicole: (41:15)
A light touch, I think it was. COVID is surging everywhere. Why haven’t you taken more aggressive measures? Can you tell Arizonans why you’re not taking any more?

Doug Ducey: (41:25)
Well, I take targeted measures. I want to do things in a way that will actually have an effect on public health, that will slow the spread, contain the spread where possible. So they’ve been targeted and they’ve been measured. They’ve not been willy nilly. They’ve certainly not been political. And they haven’t been guesses. They have prioritized public health. They’ve been in alignment with public health. And we’ve made the policy decisions.

Nicole: (41:53)
I’ve heard several people ask, have you ever tested positive for COVID-19?

Speaker 5: (41:57)
Last question, please.

Doug Ducey: (41:59)
No. The question is, have I ever tested positive for COVID-19? The answer is no.

Doug Ducey: (42:02)
… positive for COVID-19, the answer’s no.

Speaker 6: (42:03)
Thank you, Nicole. We’re going to go to Zoom next. We’re going to go to Brandon Mejia from Yuma, KYMA. Brandon, go ahead.

Brandon Mejia: (42:12)
Hi there, Governor. Brandon Mejia from Yuma. You talked about action being taken at the Air Force. In Yuma, the border of Mexico and California, a lot of travel within our region. Anything being done at the border checkpoints, the port of entries, to help mitigate this spread?

Doug Ducey: (42:25)
Well, thank you very much, Brandon. We have had of course communication with our partners on the Arizona-Mexico Commission in Sonora. We’re aware of some of the real challenges that you’ve had in Yuma. This ability of real time testing that we have right now, along with the capacity and resources, is certainly something we can surge or introduce to parts of the state that needed. I know you have many incredibly hardworking people that come back and forth. I know the industry has lead on some of the testing and techniques there. That’s been where the pinnacle of concern has been. If there’s additional steps that are needed, we’re at the ready to help solve those issues because the supply chain has caught up. The results now can happen not in real time, but with a rapid response. We want to be able to do that so that we can protect lives and allow that very critical industry of agriculture in our state to continue.

Speaker 6: (43:33)
We’ll go to-

Brandon Mejia: (43:34)
Thank you.

Speaker 6: (43:35)
Back to the room here. Let’s go to Bob Christie, and then we’ll go to Telemundo. Bob with AP, go ahead.

Bob Christie: (43:43)
Governor, I want to go back to the mask thing. Back in June when we saw this huge spike in cases, you’re under incredible pressure from elected leaders across the state to do a statewide mask ordinance. You refused to do it. Instead you allowed the cities to do it. Now that same chorus is coming back as we see another spike in cases and no longer have the scaff to fully staff our ICUs if we have another explosion. Why won’t you take the simple step of just issuing a statewide mask ordinance so that it’s a blanket ordinance across the whole state? I mean, that’s your role as a leader and there’s a lot of criticism of you out there this weekend previously for not taking that simple step, which health officials say is so easy to do and so effective.

Doug Ducey: (44:31)
I think the steps that we’ve put in place, the participation that we have, is got the maximum amount of compliance with Arizonans wearing a mask. In addition, it’s nearly impossible to participate in our economy anywhere without wearing a mask. The decisions that I’ve made have been ones that I think would improve the situation and have more people wearing a mask. If I thought, as you suggest, that there was a magic wand or a silver bullet, I would seize it. But I don’t think that’s the case, Bob. I don’t think that’s where the evidence is. There are states like Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin and New Jersey, Minnesota, and Michigan that all have statewide mask mandates and their seven day case rate is higher than Arizona’s. They’ve had the mask mandate quote unquote there longer. I don’t second guess other governors. Every governor has got to do what they think is in the best interest of their state. What I’ve wanted to see is the maximum amount of participation and that’s what I’m going to continue to encourage.

Bob Christie: (45:48)
Sir, let’s talk about the election again. I know you’ve addressed this questions a little bit, but there’s really … No serious person believes that there was any miscounting of votes in Arizona. There are county supervisors who are refusing to vote for the canvas because they heard there might’ve been. Isn’t it your role to slap that down and say, “Listen, there’s nothing in court that would prevent this victory by Vice President-elect Biden from being certified? Knock it off.”? Why won’t you do that?

Doug Ducey: (46:23)
It’s my role along with other state leaders to make sure all the votes get counted. The voters vote. The voters vote. We count the votes. At this point in time in Arizona, Vice President Biden has about a 10,300 vote advantage. That’s about three tenths of 1%, and there are legal challenges out there and they have the right to those challenges. Those challenges will play out in the court and then I will respect the results of the election.

Bob Christie: (47:00)
Sir, the county-

Speaker 6: (47:00)
We’re going to Tom Mooney. Next, we’re going to-

Bob Christie: (47:02)
Mojave County supervisor-

Doug Ducey: (47:04)
I think there’ll be a question.

Bob Christie: (47:05)
No, there’s no issue in Mojave County yet those Republican supervisors refuse to canvas the elections.

Doug Ducey: (47:10)
I think that will be a question for them. They are elected officials in their own right.

Bob Christie: (47:16)
Sure, they are.

Doug Ducey: (47:16)
This will play out.

Speaker 6: (47:17)
You got to give someone over a chance. We’re going to go to Telemundo next. This is going to be the last question. Telemundo, go ahead.

Speaker 7: (47:23)
Since you don’t really want to put a mask mandate, you did mention by the airports though that you’re going to have testing sites for people. Would that be something that you would do mandatory for people that are coming into our state from other areas, that they have to get tested or any type of quarantine like many other states have done in ways to try to try to keep that down for people that are coming in? I mean, I know we have three major airports, but would that be something that you would try to do as well as an extra precaution measure?

Doug Ducey: (47:52)
Well, I want to clarify. I want people to wear masks. In Arizona, we have over 90% of the state that has local mask mandates. By and large, we’ve had a lot of compliance with it. In terms of the airport, we want to provide just more resources. Of course we expect anyone that’s been exposed to the virus to quarantine. We believe that if there’s testing that’s available and it’s easy with a rapid response, we’ll have more participation. I have a lot of faith in Americans that if they realized that they were negative, or I’m sorry, were positive with the virus or exposed to the virus in a significant way, that they would quarantine. We just want to give them a way to know that. To me, I know the challenges that we’ve had across the country with testing. We’re not in that position today. We have capacity and we want to maximize it at points of entry where people can just make better decisions.

Speaker 7: (48:53)
That would be voluntary?

Doug Ducey: (48:54)
It would be voluntary, yes.

Speaker 6: (48:54)
Thank you very much.

Speaker 8: (48:54)
When are we going to see you again?

Doug Ducey: (48:54)
Soon.

Dennis: (48:58)
Just wanted to ask one more question about Katie Hobbs. Now you denounced the death threats made against her in very clear terms. Are you prepared to take any more steps to protect her and her family?

Doug Ducey: (49:09)
Absolutely. We will do whatever it takes to protect Secretary Hobbs. I think I said that the Department of Public Safety, which reports to me, is working with her office to provide all and any available protections, both personally and professionally.

Dennis: (49:25)
Regarding the election, you said you wanted to wait for all legal options to play out. Have you seen any lawsuit here in Arizona, either before or it’s currently making its way through the courts, do you see any legitimacy to any of these lawsuits?

Doug Ducey: (49:38)
Well, Dennis, I mean, I think that lawsuit’s actually being heard today. With all the things that are on our plate, I’m not in the business of reviewing lawsuits. That’s what the court … That’s what our court system does. I have confidence in our court system and our judiciary law. I’m going to let the … They are a separate and co-equal branch.

Dennis: (50:01)
Sure. But you’re also holding off saying that this election is over, saying that there’s no fraud. You’re holding off on saying, saying wait and [inaudible 00:50:09].

Doug Ducey: (50:09)
No, I have said I have confidence in our election system. I have confidence in how we conduct elections in Arizona. You want me to make a declaration before the legal process plays out. Listen, my name wasn’t on the ballot in 2020. I respect the people who put their names on a ballot. In our Senate race, the sitting senator was satisfied with the vote, saw no legal irregularity that needed to go to the court and conceded. I followed up with a congratulatory call to Senator-elect Mark Kelly. In the race you’re focused on, there are legal challenges. Let’s let the legal challenges play out.

Speaker 6: (51:04)
Thank you very much, guys. We got to wrap it up here. That was the last question.

Dennis: (51:07)
It’s the same ballot.

Doug Ducey: (51:07)
But there’s a legal challenge and there’s a right to a legal challenge. Because it’s the same ballot doesn’t mean that there’s not a legal challenge.

Speaker 6: (51:14)
Thank you.

Dennis: (51:14)
I guess the question is that some votes count and other ones don’t?

Speaker 6: (51:16)
One at a time, one at a time.

Speaker 9: (51:19)
The fact is, though, that all the claims by some Republicans, some members in your party, the party did fairly well. Somehow are you buying the theory that it was only the Trump campaign where voting was altered?

Doug Ducey: (51:33)
Again, you’re trying to put thoughts in my head and words in my mouth. I’m going to stand by the confidence I’ve projected in not only our election system, but our judicial system. These challenges, the availability of rights and remedies to be pursued and to be heard, they’re going to have their day in court.

Speaker 6: (51:57)
Thank you very much. That’s all the time we have. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Doug Ducey: (52:00)
I want to close by saying thank you to everyone. Thank you to Arizonans for their commitment, for their good behavior, understanding that the virus is on the rise. I think long before I came into office, someone said that the greater part of instruction is being reminded of things that you already know. Please, in redoubling your efforts, wear a mask, stay physically distant, wash your hands. If you’re sick, stay at home and celebrate a safe Thanksgiving. Thank you all.

Speaker 10: (52:37)
Will we see you before Thanksgiving?

Dennis: (52:38)
[inaudible 00:52:38] Trump’s reelection?

Doug Ducey: (52:38)
Thank you.

Bob Christie: (52:38)
Do you have regrets about nominating Mark McStone or Mark [inaudible 00:00:52:43]?

Speaker 11: (52:46)
Nope. She’s coming back for it two years now.

Speaker 12: (52:50)
McSally for Governor.