Jun 29, 2020

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Press Conference Transcript June 29

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Press Conference June 29
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsArizona Governor Doug Ducey Press Conference Transcript June 29

Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey held a June 29 press conference on coronavirus in the state. Ducey ordered Arizona bars, gyms and theaters to be closed again, and large gatherings will be restricted. Read his full news briefing speech here with all Arizona COVID-19 updates.

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Governor Doug Ducey: (02:58)
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being here today. I want to begin by saying I talked to healthcare leaders from around the state on Friday, and they told me some incredibly moving stories about our frontline workers, our doctors, our nurses, our hospital staff, everyone that works in healthcare and all of our caregivers. So I just want to reemphasize to all of them how grateful we are for what they do, how much we appreciate their hard work and commitment, especially at this time of incredible stress and how much we value them. And I know everyone in the room likely knows a doctor, nurse, caregiver, somebody who works for a hospital. Please also extend your appreciation. These folks are the heroes on the front line today for the people of Arizona. And I’m grateful for everything that they do.

Governor Doug Ducey: (04:08)
I also want to say I’m thankful to the people of Arizona. I’ve asked for a lot of patience, and I’m going to ask for some more patience as we go forward. This pandemic is incredible in terms of the sacrifices that it’s asking all of our citizens to continue to participate. Our numbers continue to increase in Arizona. They’re going in the wrong direction, and we’re going to take some additional actions today to contain this virus and get back on track. And to do that, we will have to persevere and it’s going to be for some time into the future.

Governor Doug Ducey: (04:53)
Remember, you are safer at home. The virus is widespread. So if you don’t need to go out, don’t go out. I know there are many last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that didn’t go out. You are safer at home. So if you need to get something done, get it done. Get home. Personal responsibility and responsible behavior can go a long way to slow this virus.

Governor Doug Ducey: (05:27)
Here are Arizona’s latest numbers. I’m saying they are going in the wrong direction. I want to share with you the brutal facts of our current situation. Today we have 74,553 COVID=19 cases. On average, we have 2,857 average new cases per day. And we have lost 1,588 Arizonans. So my heart and condolences go out to all the families of Arizonans who have lost loved ones through this crisis. And we’re going to do everything we can to protect people in this state going forward. This is a dangerous virus, and we need to slow it down and contain it.

Governor Doug Ducey: (06:20)
Also, this is a global pandemic. It’s affecting all of our states, and Arizona is not alone right now in terms of where we are on record cases and record hospitalizations. You’ll see that most of the record cases and record hospitalizations are the West and the South. We were able to visit with the coronavirus task force this morning. Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Cabinet Secretary Azar. Dr. Birx is actually in New Mexico today. She was in Texas yesterday, and she’ll be in Arizona tomorrow to talk about additional measures that we can take here in our state, and we’re grateful for their partnership and responsiveness.

Governor Doug Ducey: (07:19)
This is a graphic from the New York Times. 29 states have seen increases in COVID-19 cases over the last week. In Arizona, we are seeing an increase higher than many of these other states. There are only four states in the U.S. that are on the decline. So the time of additional action is upon us.

Governor Doug Ducey: (07:50)
This is new reported cases by day in the United States, you can see the steep spike, the flattening and a beginning of decline, and they are on the rise again. And we want to do our part in Arizona to bring this number down. This is our weekly COVID-19 cases by age. One thing that Dr. Birx mentioned this morning is we are seeing a different spread of the virus at this time in the United States and Arizona versus what we became so familiar with on the East coast and in March and April. We’re seeing increases and young in young people. And in Arizona, that’s making up a large portion of our new cases. If you look at the blue demographic here, that’s ages 20 to 44, and that’s a much larger number of cases and an increase in those number of cases. We know statistically that these folks were not in harm’s way from what we saw in terms of, of mortality. But we have new information because of these cases today, and it’s a message that we need to get out far and wide in the state of Arizona.

Governor Doug Ducey: (09:19)
Now if you look at hospitalizations, we’ve had a lot of focus at this table about making sure that we care for folks that are in our most vulnerable category. And that’s someone who is elderly with co-morbidity at high risk or underlying chronic health conditions. And that is the largest part of our hospitalizations at 40%. But I want you to look at the 22% that are hospitalized that are aged 20 to 44. Okay? If these folks who are in that category have comorbidities, and Dr. Birx pointed out specifically obesity and diabetes, you are at high risk as well. So we want to slow the spread of this. We want to stop the spread. If you have not gotten this yet, you can avoid it. And we want to make sure that you have all the care and resources if you are in one of these positions inside our hospital. And we also want to make sure if young people get it, oftentimes they are going to recover, but they can also share it with mom or dad or grandma or grandfather. And that’s a message we need to amplify.

Governor Doug Ducey: (10:37)
I want to go through the numbers. In Arizona specifically, I’ve already mentioned they’re going in the wrong direction. This is the gating criteria that we’ve used, but today Arizona is remaining on pause with additional steps to slow the spread. We last met on Thursday. So don’t expect a huge change in these numbers. Our COVID-like illness is up in emergency rooms. Our COVID patient hospital bed use is up. And our percentage of positive tests is increasing as well. On symptoms, we want to see a downward trajectory and both influenza and COVID. We’re not. We’re seeing it going in the wrong direction. If you look at the gold line, that’s the flu, influenza-like illness, and if the flu is behaving like the flu traditionally behaves.

Governor Doug Ducey: (11:34)
What’s different is COVID-19. They call it a novel virus for a reason. That’s unique. It’s going in the wrong direction, and it’s climbing. It’s something we have to pay attention to. In terms of cases, we want to see a downward trajectory for a 14-day period or a downward trajectory in positive tests. This is where we are. Now I don’t know how well you can see this on your screen, but if you look at the cases, the first case happened in Arizona. This was here in late January. We declared a state of emergency on March 11th, and we saw cases, but no real increase in cases for weeks and weeks and weeks. And if you remember, stay home, stay healthy, stay connected, that ended on May 15th.

Governor Doug Ducey: (12:33)
You can see for two weeks, pretty steady, and then we’ve had an increase in cases for the weeks following. So from the actions of really slowing that spread down, slowing the virus down a two-week lag, and now we’re seeing the increase in cases. And I want you to see this so you can see that we can take some of the steps that we took to turn this in the other direction. And it really just ramifies the message that you are safer at home. This is our percentage of positive tests. The blue mountain represents the number of tasks that we have in the increase in tests. The gold line shows the positivity of tests, again, headed in the wrong direction.

Governor Doug Ducey: (13:24)
So we’ve got more tests. We have more positive cases, and an increase in positive cases demonstrates that we have more spreading of this virus. So we’re going to test more so we can isolate who’s necessary, slow things down and reduce the cases and positivity. So what we’ll want to see is the blue mountain grow in terms of tasks that we conduct and the gold line bend down to lower positivity.

Governor Doug Ducey: (13:56)
Hospitals. We want to make sure we can treat all patients without crisis care. These are our hospital beds in Arizona. Gray represents availability. Blue represents inpatient beds in use for something other than COVID-19, and gold represents COVID-19 patients. So you can see an increase in the use of hospital beds and an increase in the number of COVID hospital beds in Arizona. Now this does not include the beds that we have prepared for surge availability if necessary. This is just our current hospital capacity without a factoring in surge capacity.

Governor Doug Ducey: (14:44)
This is our intensive care unit, ICU. If you get extremely sick, we want to make sure we can care for you. You can see the availability in gray. You can see blue is other than COVID-like illness, and you can see the increase in COVID-19 cases inside our ICU facilities. This doesn’t include surge capacity. If you remember, we went and did the press conference, much different than this press conference. on April 9th at St. Luke’s. So we have been preparing since March, April, and through May for what is upon us in Arizona right now. And we are prepared for what is coming.

Governor Doug Ducey: (15:34)
This also is a graphic that will show you that we’ve pretty much been, in terms of ICU beds, flat. In terms of non COVID-19 patients and increasing in COVID-19 patients in Arizona. Ventilators. We’ve got a lot of availability on ventilators, although we do have an increase in terms of COVID-19 patients using them, but we have plenty in our stockpile if necessary. I want you to know we’re working very closely with our hospitals and our hospital leaders. They’ve been responsive, and we’ve worked to ensure that we can build capacity within this hospital system. We’ve done that through communication, partnership, relationship, and executive order.

Governor Doug Ducey: (16:25)
I want to thank Peter Fine at Banner Health, Linda Hunt at Dignity Health, Robert Gray at the Mayo Clinic, Todd LaPorte at HonorHealth, Bob Trenschel at Yuma Regional, Steve Purves at Valleywise. That was formerly MIHS. And Judy Rich at Tucson Medical. I was able to visit with each of them, hear their thoughts, talk about our situation in Arizona. And I also want to thank them for their very good recommendations on how to contain this spread going forward. I’m going to turn it over to Dr. Christ, and I want to thank Dr. Christ again. She’s leading our healthcare public health effort for her hard work and her team’s hard work in Arizona and talk a little bit about our hospital relationship in Arizona.

Dr. Cara Christ: (17:18)
Thank you, Governor. So we’ve been working very closely with our hospital partners, the chief medical officers, the chief clinical officers as part of the Crisis Standards of Care Plan, which is a plan that was implemented in Arizona at the end of 2014, beginning of 2015, we have a state disaster medical advisory committee. So this consists of members of hospitals, of healthcare coalitions, the medical boards, the nursing boards, groups of experts that come together. That group on Friday recommended implementing the Crisis Standards of Care, which is really the framework. So that facilities can be prepared if there’s a reduction in the type of resources or their ability to be able to provide care at that specific facility.

Dr. Cara Christ: (18:07)
So these standards, it was recommended that we implement that. ADHS as of this afternoon, we’ll activate the Crisis Standards of Care. This will encourage our hospitals. We are recommending that they activate tactics to address space, to get their surge beds up, to make sure that they’ve got staffing and resources as necessary for that hospital’s current situation. This is being put proactively into place so that hospitals who are on their own individual trajectory can implement these standards if necessary.

Dr. Cara Christ: (18:40)
We’re asking them to prepare for surge and to anticipate fully staffing their hospitals. For those that do determine that they are in a crisis level, that they cease all surgeries except non-emergent essential surgeries and procedures that do not impair the care of other patients. We’ve asked them to activate their hospital incident command and do that on an increasing frequent basis, and then to make sure that they’re establishing regular communication with their local health jurisdiction or their local public health department. Thank you, Governor.

Governor Doug Ducey: (19:12)
Thank you very much, Doctor. Let’s talk about testing in Arizona and our focus on testing and the information that it shows us. In Arizona, we’ve done over 677,000 tests. On the diagnostic or PCR, over 500, 000 have been done in over 166,000 on serology or the antibody test. We’ll continue to focus on testing and increased testing. It’s important. It gives us the information that we need. We’re building capacity around testing. If you do want to get tested, and we’d like you to get tested, go to azhealth.gov/ testingblitz.

Governor Doug Ducey: (20:04)
So we simply cannot let up. This is a time for us to put on a full court press as a state. We can’t be under any illusion that this virus is going to go away on its own. Our expectation is that next week, our numbers will be worse. It will take several weeks for the mitigations that we have put in place and are putting in place to take effect, but they will take effect. So over time, we’ll see reductions and not increases. That’s the goal. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen. And if every Arizonan will join in this and follow these steps, we’ll slow this spread, will save lives along the way. And we’ll see it reflected in this data. Of course, our objective is to protect lives and to…

Governor Doug Ducey: (21:03)
First, our objective is to protect lives and to protect livelihoods, and when in doubt, we are going to err, on the side of protecting lives. We are going to err on the side of caution to make sure that we can deal with this pandemic in the state of Arizona. The objective is to slow the virus. The virus is not going away at this point in time. There is no cure. There is no vaccine. We want to slow it down. We’ve done that before, and we can do that again at this time. We need to do that again in this time, and we want to protect the most vulnerable and the better we communicate and people realize how contagious and dangerous this virus is, the better able we will be to protect lives and protect our most vulnerable. The best way you can do this is to wear a mask. Mask up. I want to remind Arizonans to please wear a mask. I want to thank our local leaders for their communication on this with mask wearing across our state. We’re also going to make sure at the state level with state resources that everyone has access to masks in our state. By the end of this week, not only will we have that program in place, every one of our correctional facilities from correctional officers to inmates will have a mask, and our inmates upon release are given two masks so they can begin their time in public wearing a mask. The increased masking is working. This is the IHME modeling. Sometimes it’s been on target. Sometimes it’s been off target. It projected in Arizona with mask usage on June 28th yesterday, we’d be at 3,891 in terms of cases. We hit that. We were at 3,858.

Governor Doug Ducey: (23:18)
They project, if you look at that descending line with the continual use of masks, the decline that it will have in cases in the state of Arizona, so this gives us hope. It gives us a target and a plan. I think we all know this and understand it. If we’ll hold ourselves accountable to doing it, it will make the biggest just possible different in the spread of the virus in Arizona. I’m asking every Arizonan to do their part. I mean, as we know more about this, it really makes sense that this idea of physical distancing, of washing your hands, of staying at home where you are safer can make the difference in terms of slowing this spread. It’s common sense. It’s personal responsibility. It’s good habits, but we’re not going back to normal any time soon. This is the way to protect the most people in our state. Let’s make sure it’s part of our routine.

Governor Doug Ducey: (24:27)
I also want to talk about a number that I don’t think has ever come up at this a press conference. It’s a number that’s on discussion with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. It’s one that’s been topical also on the governor’s conference calls. It’s called the, if you look at that symbol R, lowercase t, you pronounce that, epidemiologists call that R-naught, and that shows the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. What you want that number to be is less than one. If it’s less than one, you’re slowing the spread of the virus. If it’s more than one, you’re increasing the spread. I’ve talked a lot about states that were hit first and hit hardest and hit before us. New York certainly received a lot of attention, and we learned a lot from what happened in New York. Massachusetts was in that same juggernaut of virus spread, and Charlie Baker helped me. The governor of Massachusetts helped me understand some of the things that they did to get folks to understand how to get this below one, and I want to show you where Arizona is today. We’re at 1.18, okay? So we’re 18 basis points over one. It wasn’t that long ago that Arizona was under one, and for those of you that want to check more into this stuff, that’s the website at the bottom of the page, the //rt.live. You’ve got to put both the slashes in, or you’ll go to the wrong website. You can look interactively at where Arizona is, where every other state in the nation is, and you can see that it wasn’t that long ago we were beneath one, okay?

Governor Doug Ducey: (26:26)
That’s where we need to begin to trend again. That allows us to slow the spread and, in time, have other alternatives in terms of therapeutics, vaccine, cures, whatever our incredible medical professionals across the nation are going to bring to us. But until then, we have got to slow and contain this spread. So we brought this number down a bit in the last couple of weeks. We’ve seen it flatten and lower. We need to bring it down further, and we need to bring it down faster. This gives you an idea of how the math works. If you have 3,858 cases on a daily basis, how quickly that can increase to 16,000. If you want to plug in a number less than one or if you look at the number where Arizona was below one, it’s the inverse. You begin to see it slow and reduce, and our trends will begin to go in the right direction. The best way to do all of this is to mask up. Remember you’re safer at home and be responsible. The idea of physical distancing, respecting others’ physical distance is incredibly important.

Governor Doug Ducey: (27:52)
So the actions that we’re going to take today are going to be to minimize gatherings and large congregations. Arizonans have been, by and large, terrific, fantastic, and responsible, but we have found some situations and categories where we need to take more aggressive actions, and that’s what we’re going to do today. Today’s executive order will pause the operation of bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks, and tubing. Effective at 8:00 PM today with a targeted reopening date in 30 days, in order to reopen these establishments will have to attest and here to public health regulations and post it for the public to see. Enforcement will be led by local public health officials and local authorities. I think we all saw the photos and videos of some of the things that were happening around our state this weekend, and the result of that has been an increase in the spread. So with this targeted approach, we know that we can pump the brakes in Arizona. We can pause, and our aspirational goal is to get these establishments reopened in 30 days with enforcement by county health officials, but we’re going to be monitoring the data along the way, and we’re going to do everything necessary to protect public health. We’re also going to limit mass gatherings, so indoor and outdoor public events of 15 or more will be prohibited. The Department of Liquor Licenses and Control will cease issuing special event licenses, and this is applicable statewide. Cities and counties have the authority to approve larger events, but only if adequate safety precautions are implemented, including physical distancing measures.

Governor Doug Ducey: (30:17)
New guidance for pools, again, with the focus of breaking up large gatherings, so this prohibits groups of larger than 10 from congregating together in or near the pool. Private pools, apartments, condos, and multi-housing complexes must post signage at entrances requiring physical distancing and limiting groups larger than 10 from congregating near the pool. We also want to bring as much certainty as possible for Arizona schools. Of course, our objective is to educate our kids as best as possible in the safest environment. At this point in time, we are going to delay the first day of school til August 17th. We’ll continuously reevaluate this target date. We’re working closely with Superintendent Hoffman with the objective to educate our children safely and successfully, and we’ll continue to communicate along the way and to continue programs for kids in need.

Governor Doug Ducey: (31:33)
Also, we have great concern and love for our folks in longterm care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and some of our folks that are developmentally disabled and have not been able to be visited by family. We want that to happen. We will resume that as soon as it’s safe, so if you want to see mom or dad or a noni or papa, we’ve got to bend this curve the other way. We’ve got to slow this spread. In the interim, we are going to be sending $10,000 per facility so they can purchase iPads and screens and digital devices, so we can have more interactions between loved ones from home to longterm care facilities. There will be a lot of flexibility, but the objective here is that they will have devices that work, so regardless of how big the device needs to be, so that the person inside the longterm care facility can see their loved ones and communicate. Once it’s safe, we have protocols for how visitations begin again. With that, I want to turn it over to Dr. Christ for an update on public health. Doctor?

Dr. Cara Christ: (33:01)
Thank you, governor. So again, just to go over those questions that you should ask yourself, because you truly are safer at home, there are varying risks, and one of the intents of public health is to decrease risk to people. So your biggest risk is going to be around other people that you’re not normally around, so you want to ask yourself how many people are you going to be interacting with when you reach your destination? Are they going to be able to be socially distancing? Are they going to be able to wear cloth face coverings, because if they’re not physically distancing and they’re not wearing cloth face coverings, that increases your risk. Engaging with new people that you may not know or know who are in their social cohort or the steps that they take can also raise your risk, and we do know that there are people who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and can transmit the virus to others.

Dr. Cara Christ: (33:59)
Can you physically distance at the location where you will be? Can you stay about six feet away from others? Will you be indoors and outdoors? So being indoors increases your risk versus being outdoors. The closer you are to people in your location, the higher your risk for getting COVID-19, and you want to make sure if you are high risk, so over the age of 65 or with a medical condition that puts you more at risk, that you really are thinking about that question, and if you do need to go out, that you are physically distancing. Then what’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people? The longer you interact with somebody, especially at a close distance, is going to increase your risk significantly, so you just want to make sure that you’re decreasing your time that you spend in close proximity with others, and it also protects them in case you might be infected and are asymptomatic or not showing symptoms yet.

Dr. Cara Christ: (34:59)
So we heard a lot about the troubles that Arizonans were having getting tested, not this past weekend, but the weekend before, and so we started to put different activities into place to reduce that, because we don’t want Arizona’s to not be able to get testing. We were very upset with seeing the seeing what was going on. So this weekend, we increased testing in Maryvale. We partnered with Equality Health. We provided them with funding so that they could support their staff, get restrooms for their patients and water, because we know that it’s warm out there. We provided them with PPE or personal protective equipment for their staff, and then for everybody who got a test, we gave them cloth face covering so that they could give them out to the patients.

Dr. Cara Christ: (35:48)
We also worked with CVS and Walgreens and Akos MD to encourage them to open up a site in that area, and currently we are working with ASU. ASU has a saliva-based test that they have available and they can scale up pretty quickly, and we’re looking to offer free saliva-based testing in the Maryvale area moving forward. Then one of the biggest asks that we have, this is kind of a call to action for those that have had COVID-19 and have recovered. There’s a potential treatment called convalescent plasma that doctors are using to treat severe cases of coronavirus. People who have recovered may have the antibodies in their blood, so in the liquid part of their blood. Those individuals can donate that, and that would be then given to patients who are having either severe or at high risk for having severe disease. So we’re asking those that have had COVID-19 and recovered to seriously consider donating their blood and potentially their plasma.

Dr. Cara Christ: (36:57)
And then we’ve gotten a lot of questions about who can get tested. We have not changed our standing orders statewide. There are providers that do require symptoms. Our standing order though, is for those that believe that they have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19, you are still eligible to get testing. We would recommend that you go to our website at azhealth.gov/covid19testing. We now have 232 test collection sites on our map, and we continue to add additional sites. Some of them do require preregistration, and we would recommend in order to reduce the weight and to guarantee availability, go on the website and pre-register for an appointment.

Dr. Cara Christ: (37:45)
Then we will be updating guidance for Independence Day, so we know that a lot of people like to get together for the 4th of July and celebrate. What we are asking this weekend is that you celebrate the Independence Day with your immediate household or daily contacts. Don’t expand that and have large groups either at your home or out in public. We need to protect our most vulnerable family members and friends, so if you’ve got grandparents or those that are high risk, might be a great time to engage them through FaceTime or other video chat methods. If you do have people over, try to stay outside as much as possible. Make sure that you’re staying hydrated, physically distanced and wearing a mask if you are not with your normal cohort.

Governor Doug Ducey: (38:30)
Thank you very much, Dr. Christ, and thank you for all your hard work and that of your team. With that, I want to turn it over to Major General Mick McGuire. General McGuire has been serving double duty now for some time, not only leading our National Guard, but the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, from trying to stamp out the fires that are happening literally are around our state to building our supply lines. He’s been on the front line, so thank you and give us an update.

General McGuire: (39:00)
Yes, sir. First, on the fire front, as I mentioned, only one type one incident team still working run by National Forest Service. They’re down at the Big Horn Fire in Pima County in the Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson. A couple of evacuation orders over the weekend. All the citizens were very compliant, and right now they’re continuing to manage that. Hopefully get that one under control On the emergency management resourcing requests, it’s been a short time, as the governor mentioned, since we last met Thursday. I am happy that Dr. Christ and her team submitted requests for staffing assistance through FEMA, and we were able to get medical assistance in the tune of about 60 total personnel to Pima County and to Yuma County to deploy into our hospital systems between Northwest Regional Medical Center, Yuma Regional Medical Center and Tucson Medical Center, and we still have 820 of our great guardsmen on mission to support COVID-19. Thanks.

Governor Doug Ducey: (40:03)
Thanks so much, General. I really appreciate all the work you’re doing on every front. But before we go to questions, I want to just say a personal thank you to the press and to the assembled media. I made an ask last Thursday that you help spread the word that you are safer at home and that the virus is widespread. I’m grateful. I know that that was widely reported. I saw it in print all over the place, so I want you to know how much I appreciate it. It’s going to go a long way to bend the curve in the right direction, and it’s still the message, so I’m going to be saying it. The more it’s amplified, the more Arizonans see this, the faster we will navigate through this to a place and position of higher safety and protection for all of the people of Arizona. And with that, Patrick, let’s open it up for questions.

Patrick: (41:10)
We’re going to start. Peter from [inaudible 00:20:09].

Peter: (41:11)
Good afternoon. Governor Ducey, 50 or less is what you said for public gatherings. Does that include churches? Does that include religious gatherings for worship? What are the restrictions?

Governor Doug Ducey: (41:22)
So those are public events that we were putting out there. I mean, you’re safer at home is what we’re saying, Peter. We want to see physical distancing, and we’re going to continue to put that message out there, but those are public events, and then places of business where there was large congregation is what the order covers.

Peter: (41:42)
And enforcement is by city, correct?

Governor Doug Ducey: (41:44)
By local health officials, yes.

Peter: (41:46)
Okay. So the penalties are up to them if there are any?

Governor Doug Ducey: (41:50)
Up to them, although the Department of Liquor and Licenses, of course, will be doing enforcement, anyone that would not follow the executive order that we put out for bars and nightclubs.

Peter: (42:02)
And so how do …

Governor Doug Ducey: (42:03)
… executive order that we put out for bars and nightclubs.

Speaker 2: (42:03)
How do the enforcements work with bars who also served food? That’s the loophole from the last time around what’s different this time around?

Governor Doug Ducey: (42:11)
In the executive order, there’s much clearer guidance as to how this is going to work and it’s going to limit the large congregations. And then we expect our operators that are going to be operating in terms of food service and dining to have physical distancing inside their establishment, along with the proper use of face coverings.

Speaker 2: (42:37)
And for Dr. Christ really quick, the testing delayed today. Excuse me, the results being released. The data release delays. That’s what I wanted to say, what happened?

Dr. Cara Christ: (42:48)
So it’s an electronic lab reporting file. So something happened with the file. It didn’t get transmitted to the department in time to process it. So it will be included in tonight’s processing. So we expect a larger number tomorrow because it will include the labs from today and the labs from tomorrow.

Speaker 1: (43:06)
Howie go ahead. Move in the back [inaudible 00:43:10].

Governor Doug Ducey: (43:13)
Hi, Howie.

Howie: (43:15)
Two things. One, I saw the order on bars. What about restaurants? Are we going to keep the rules the same for them?

Governor Doug Ducey: (43:22)
No, this guidance goes specifically to bars and nightclubs and tubing. The guidance though, in terms of physical distancing, what we’ve put out for restaurants is the expectation.

Howie: (43:35)
Okay, let’s come back to bars. We were here in May when you said restaurants, not bars. And then your DLC said, “Well, if you got food and you allowed that to continue as shown by what happened in Scottsdale and Tempe, did you screw up?”

Governor Doug Ducey: (43:52)
We’re fixing it. We’re fixing it. We’re going to continue to adjust depending on what the data and information is. I’ve had a graphic that shows us turning up or down the light and energy in the academy. I said, when it comes to protecting lives versus protecting livelihoods, we’re going to err on the side of protecting lives. We’ve got to break up large congregations. That’s what we did so well in March and that’s what we’re doing now.

Howie: (44:32)
Okay. Then I’ll just follow up in Peter’s question because I want to make sure, you’ve always had, I guess I’ll call it an exception for first amendment protected activities. So I would assume that political rallies and churches are not subject to the 50?

Governor Doug Ducey: (44:47)
The constitution remains the Supreme law of the land in Arizona.

Howie: (44:51)
Okay. Thank you.

Speaker 1: (44:55)
[inaudible 00:44:55] Stephanie, go ahead.

Stephanie: (44:59)
Yes, governor I just wanted to know what the purpose of vice president Pence’s visit is tomorrow and if you know any kind of an itinerary for that visit?

Governor Doug Ducey: (45:07)
Yes, I believe things are changing, but it’s basically to accompany Dr. Deborah Birx. Dr. Birx is going to Texas, Arizona. Today she’s in New Mexico. Of course, you know that she’s leading the coronavirus task force along with Dr. Fauci. She’s going to be in Arizona and vice president Pence was going to accompany her for the update on what’s happening in Arizona. It’s an official visit and it’s focused on healthcare in public health and the state of Arizona.

Stephanie: (45:43)
And then just one question for a doctor, Christ, I know we have enough ventilators that was obvious and we have the surge beds. But do we have enough staff? And is there enough stuff for St. Luke’s if in fact that’s needed.

Dr. Cara Christ: (45:59)
So thank you, Stephanie. So we continue to work with our hospitals. We have requested… Our health care workers have been working for a very long time on the front lines. And we know that everyone is getting tired and there are a lot of patients. We have worked to request federal medical assistance, to come out and give some relief to our hospitals, as well as we are working on establishing a national contract that will provide a coordinated, centralized location where we through the state can provide staffing resources to our hospitals. So we are working on that and we’re almost in the process of finalizing a contract for staffing and running St. Luke’s as well. We don’t want to pull from the pool of Arizona nurses. So we are going with a national vendor as well for that.

Stephanie: (46:51)
Thank you.

Governor Doug Ducey: (46:52)
Thank you, Stephanie.

Jeremy: (46:56)
Hi governor.

Governor Doug Ducey: (46:56)
Hi, Jeremy.

Jeremy: (46:57)
I’m wondering with the delay in the start of the school year, what does that mean for teacher pay? Well, that’d be a less pay for teachers because they won’t be working for as long as expected?

Governor Doug Ducey: (47:07)
So the question I think everyone could hear, what does that mean for teachers? It’s not going to mean less pay our objective here of course, is to fully fund our schools, to provide all the resources and flexibility necessary. We knew no matter what or where we were today with the virus in Arizona, there would be some parents and kids that were in a position where they would not be able to go back into the classroom. What we want to do, what the objective is of course is to educate our children. We believe that can be done better inside a classroom.

Governor Doug Ducey: (47:51)
The question is, can it be done safely, but we’re going to have resources for our teachers. If we have to do distance learning again, it’s not optimal, but it’s something we certainly got much better at on the turn of a dime last time. There’s a lot of time between now and mid August, but we’re going to work with superintendent Hoffman. We’re going to be listening to our superintendents and parents and we’re going to have flexibility, like I’ve said before. I mean, we’re going to be vigilant on this virus, but we’ve got to be flexible as long as we have this in our midst, and it’s going to be for some time in the future.

Jeremy: (48:34)
Or regarding the distance learning, I’ve spoken with some people in the education world who said, they want to see more flexibility allowed for distance learning. Is permitted now, but they’d like to be able to ensure that they have the full funding per student, maybe without the requirement that they have five days of in-person learning offered at these schools. Is that something you’re considering?

Governor Doug Ducey: (48:53)
Well, I’m listening to the superintendents and the principals. I know they’re listening to the teachers. I think when we released our aspirational reopening plan, it was informed by the superintendents of the public school districts. Our decisions will continue to be informed by the subject matter experts.

Jeremy: (49:14)
So might there be more flexibility offered on the distance learning options?

Governor Doug Ducey: (49:18)
The objective is yes, flexibility and resources. We’re going to say… We don’t want to do anything to be punitive, to punish anyone, we want to do what’s in the best interest of Arizona, kids and families in terms of educating them and part of that is flexibility. Hello, Nicole.

Nicole: (49:40)
[crosstalk 00:49:40] for each of you. Hi, how are you governor?

Governor Doug Ducey: (49:42)

Nicole: (49:43)
Dr. Christ activating the crisis standards of care plan. Couldn’t this have been avoided? Isn’t this where we did not want to go.

Dr. Cara Christ: (49:52)
A lot of states actually have activated their crisis standards of care plans. So it gives the hospitals a framework that allows them to determine if they do get short of resources, how they can allocate those. The other thing that it does though, is it also gives their healthcare workers some liability protection as well. So not all of our hospitals actually meet crisis standards of care just yet. So it was a proactive step by our hospitals.

Nicole: (50:19)
Are most hospitals going to be moving forward with activating the plan, the scorecards, the algorithms of who gets what type of care.

Dr. Cara Christ: (50:28)
Only if they get to a stage. And that would be on a case by case basis. So it would depend on if there was a shortage of resources of that specific kind, then they may implement that triage.

Nicole: (50:40)
And then governor healthcare professionals are telling us that your negligence in opening the state early, those are their words, not mine have put them in an impossible position of having to soon decide who lives and who dies. How do you respond to them?

Governor Doug Ducey: (50:55)
Well, the first thing I want to say is we’ve been focused for three months for what is coming at us right now. Of course, you’re always hopeful that something like this is going to pass, but it is in front of us and it’s time for Arizona to act. In terms of the plans that dr. Christ just talked of in terms of backup and staffing, that can be brought to the fore, the search capacity that we have if necessary, it’s not needed today, but we’re anticipating that it will be there in the future. This is our time to act, to save and protect as many Arizona lives as possible.

Nicole: (51:35)
But if we would have followed the proper protocols to open correctly when we were supposed to, doctors wouldn’t have to decide who lives and who dies.

Governor Doug Ducey: (51:42)
We did. We did. If you look back to the stay home, stay healthy, stay connected order. And when it was ended on May 15th, six weeks of asking Arizona’s for dramatic sacrifice, the virus in Arizona was slowed to a crawl. We can go back to where we were in terms of slowing the virus, but in terms of what we were planning for and preparing for was if we were hit hard with this pandemic and we are, and we are prepared

Speaker 1: (52:18)
Resume board next. Rachel Leingang, Arizona Republic. Rachel go ahead.

Rachel Leingang : (52:25)
Governor, do you have any regrets about how you’ve handled this pandemic so far?

Governor Doug Ducey: (52:30)
Rachel, no decision has been easy since we declared the emergency on March 11th, every day, there’s been a set of problems that need solving. It is literally consumed nearly everything in state government. And all I can say in addition that none of the decisions have been easy is that I have made what I believe in my heart of hearts is the best possible decision to protect people’s lives in Arizona and to protect livelihoods in our state. That has been the standard. I have deferred to public health along the way. And I want to tell you right now, I mean, I’m already letting you know that the next couple of weeks going forward to expect more cases in Arizona, to expect additional hospitalizations.

Governor Doug Ducey: (53:36)
The decisions that we’re making today will allow us to navigate through this so that we can help as many Arizona’s as possible. And then Lord only knows what the virus holds for us. As we come into the fall, we’ll want to continue to stay vigilant and flexible. And like I’ve said before, humble that we want to deal with the problems as they come. We’ve solved each in their turn to date and I’m confident we’ll solve the ones in front of us today.

Speaker 1: (54:05)
[inaudible 00:12:09].

Van: (54:17)
Good afternoon. Thank you guys. To be frank here, the last two weeks, we’ve seen an 84% increase in hospitalizations. You’re laying out yourself that these numbers are only going to increase and I fear that we’re going to be standing here two weeks from now asking the very same question of why did we not take further steps today here at the end of June? Why not implement stay at home policy right now? Because you and I would, could go up to Prescott this weekend and God bless the people of this state, but go outside of Scottsdale Fashion, Square Park. And my concern is this weekend that we’re going to go out there. Bars may be closed, swimming pools may be closed, but folks are still going out and about for a month and a half. You, we have been urging people to stay at home, take precautions, but they frankly haven’t. I don’t have much faith that the next week or two, again God bless the people of the state are going to be much different. Why not implement a stay at home policy right now?

Van: (55:09)
The second question that I’ve got is could you guys please lay out in layman’s terms for this Arizona public. I was out there at a quality health and Maryvale. Those guys are doing God’s work there. We were over here at banner where they’re doing 1,000 tests a day. I know there are efforts from our healthcare providers at the same time, thousands of people across the state do not have timely access to tests. And they’re confused why? They’re showing up at sites thinking they’re a location. They’re not a location. They’re waiting more than a week to get results. People’s parents are at hospitals, people’s nursing home for their grandparents. There are cases there. Can you guys give in layman’s terms why there’s not more widespread testing and what the state needs in order to make that happen for them?

Governor Doug Ducey: (55:49)
Sure. So I’ll handle the first question first and then touch on the second and turn it over to Dr. Christ. We’re following public health in terms of the decisions that we’re making. The objective today is to slow the spread of this. If you look at where Arizona is today, versus where we were on May 15th, we can get back to where we were. We need to reduce large congregate activities. That’s what we’ve seen. That’s what the actions are put in place right now. Now I want you to know that I talked to healthcare leaders from around the state on Friday, talked about different options that were in front of us. We’re making a decision that is a targeted approach that will address the issue that’s in front of us today. I’m confident. I think Arizonans are smart and have common sense and will demonstrate responsibility.

Van: (56:50)
Could be on table next week, a stay at home order.

Governor Doug Ducey: (56:53)
I said, I wake up every day Van and there is an additional set of problems and we solve them in their turn. So the humility of this is to not guess or speculate, but to prepare, do you want to talk a little bit on testing please?

Dr. Cara Christ: (57:07)
Sure. So there’s a couple of different approaches that we’re taking because we understand how frustrating it is when people can’t find a test and it takes a long time to get the result. So we’ve been working with our lab partners to get the additional reagents that they need to be able to run that as well as the additional equipment. That just takes a little bit of time to get that equipment and to get it into the system. We’re also working on bringing on large providers. So we know that we’ve got partners that will be doubling such as banner at the fairgrounds, they will be doubling their capacity. Embry Women’s Health will be doubling that. We will be putting out ASU into different sites. They can run up to 100,000 tests for us on our contracts. So we are working on that to get that out because we don’t want Arizona to be frustrated.

Van: (57:55)
Are you aware what that third platform that’s an odd request says that they’re going to be able to process up to 50,000 tests. Are you aware of what that platform is? And could you inform the people of the state what that is?

Dr. Cara Christ: (58:04)
So it’s a new platform that hasn’t, I believe been used in Arizona before. I believe it comes from Europe. So, it’s a high through output that can run quite a bit of test at once. There doesn’t appear to be any issues with the reagents.

Van: (58:23)
[crosstalk 00:58:24].

Dr. Cara Christ: (58:23)
I don’t know. That would probably be a good question for Sonora Quest.

Van: (58:28)
I’ve asked him. So I’ll let you guys do the follow up.

Dr. Cara Christ: (58:30)
Thank you.

Governor Doug Ducey: (58:31)
Thank you, Van. I also want to say that how important testing is, it’s a real focus right now. The testing, testing, and more testing, no excuses, but we were not at capacity and testing in May and parts of June. We have focused now on this Arizonans in terms of the demand are also there. 232 sites this past weekend available for testing. The pooling that Dr. Christ attempted to put into layman’s terms was something that dr. Birx talked about this morning on the conference call. Something that’s going to take the United States I believe from somewhere from 500,000 tests on a daily basis to millions of texts, to a tenfold increase. Arizona will be part of that. It’s something we’re going to continue to expand.

Speaker 3: (59:33)
Governor, Dr. Christ, thanks for taking our questions. I know that today you’re announcing these measures moving forward, but we have spoken to a lot of people who said that the situation we are in now was foreseeable. And to some extent, some of it was preventable. I’m trying to get to the bottom of one specific decision that you made and that was when you sort of opened the state back up. Why it was that you prevented cities and towns and counties from enacting their own mask requirements? What was the goal with that decision?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:00:11)
So, the goal wasn’t around preventing masks, I mean, I think I’ve been talking about masks since sometime in April. The objective was more around safely and successfully reopening businesses and making sure that there wasn’t a confusion in terms of how those businesses reopened. We adjusted that around masks because we wanted to maximize mask use. So the idea around statewide orders and when a statewide order is required or necessary, I imagine there will be others in the future. It is a way to have clarity on how things roll out. With what we’re learning about the virus and what’s necessary and nothing could be more important than wearing a mask and physically distancing. We’ve adjusted and provided that flexibility.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:01:14)
Our mayors and county supervisors have risen to the occasion. We’ll continue to do that. The decision today was informed by mayors and county supervisors. This would have been one, it would have been nice if it could have been done on a more limited basis, but we need to shut these things down statewide. That’s why you saw the executive order you saw today. When you’re talking about reopening, you’re going to see that flexibility that you’re requesting, because I imagine it will be different in different parts of the state from rural to urban. So that flexibility and authorities will be cascading in a way that protects public health.

Speaker 3: (01:01:57)
I apologize for putting you on the spot, but Dr. Christ, did you lobby your boss here to allow mayors and county supervisors to require people in their communities to wear masks earlier on?

Dr. Cara Christ: (01:02:12)
So we’ve been advocating for mask use since April. We know that the data showed that it decreased transmission to other people that was in response to the local leaders, actually asking for that ability.

Speaker 3: (01:02:27)
I understand that you’ve encouraged it and I’ve retweeted your tweets and your tweets about it, but encouraging, and then allowing communities or yourself requiring the masks. I just don’t understand why it was that when you opened back up that you didn’t say, you can open back up, but you have to wear masks, or we’re going to allow mayors county supervisors to say, you have to wear masks.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:02:56)
And just to clarify, Dr. Christ doesn’t lobby me, she informs me on public health and…

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:03:03)
… be me. She informs me on public health and masks are a good idea.

Speaker 1: (01:03:08)
We’re going to go to this gentleman here, if you would. Would you let us know what talent you’re with?

John P.: (01:03:10)
My name is John Pio. I’m a reporter with the Associated Press. This question is for Dr. Christ. We’re at 84% today and you’re implementing crisis care. It sounds to me like we’re going to be at 100 or over 100%. At what point do you expect that to happen in the coming weeks that we’re going to go over 100%?

Dr. Cara Christ: (01:03:30)
It’s really hard to predict, and we’re hoping that the mitigation strategies will start to have an impact in the next week or two. We’re encouraging by activating the crisis standards of care so that hospitals can prepare to get ready, to need to be fully staffed, to open up those surge beds in case there is a chance that we do go over their current licensed capacity.

John P.: (01:03:53)
But there’s no target date you’re looking at for that, any day that that would be triggered?

Dr. Cara Christ: (01:03:59)
It’s really on an individual hospital-by-hospital basis. So it’s very difficult to tell.

John P.: (01:04:04)
Thank you.

Speaker 1: (01:04:05)
We’re going to go to Zoom next. We’re going to speak with Rosio Hernandez from KJCD. Go ahead. You may have to unmute yourself.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:04:29)
Hi, Rosio.

Speaker 1: (01:04:29)
If we’re having a little bit of trouble there with Rosio, then we’ll go to Ben Giles from KJZZ. Ben, go ahead.

Ben Giles: (01:04:32)
Hi. Thank you. Can you hear me all right?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:04:34)
Yes. Hi, Ben.

Ben Giles: (01:04:35)
Okay. Could you please provide some more details, a specific timeline for when all inmates in Arizona will have a mask available to them?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:04:46)
Many have masks right now, but by the end of the week, we have confirmation that all inmates, all correctional officers, and anyone released from state prison will leave with several masks.

Speaker 1: (01:05:01)
We’re going to back to the room here. Zach Crenshaw, we’re going to go to the [inaudible 00:02:09].

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:05:12)
Hi, Zach.

Zach Crenshaw: (01:05:13)
Hey, Governor. Thanks for taking our questions. Appreciate all of you. So the state continues to fumble unemployment claims and soon evictions are going to start again. One mother told me today that she hasn’t gotten any financial assistance yet. She had to sell her car and that’s affecting her ability to take her daughter to PCH for appointments.

Zach Crenshaw: (01:05:31)
Meanwhile, hundreds of Arizonans, as we’re going to report today, who have died, are getting these debit cards mailed to them. How is DES still having these issues all these months later?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:05:43)
So the first thing I want to say is I’m thankful to the men and women in Department of Economic Security. They went from hardly anyone, statistically, being on unemployment in Arizona to over one point, I believe, at the peak, 1.5 million Arizona applications with billions of dollars going out in assistance.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:06:09)
I know that the system has not been perfect. It’s needed computer resources and capacity from additional servers. It has caught up. It likely is not still perfect, but it’s much improved. And I see the number of dollars that are going out in terms of unemployment insurance benefits. So if you want to get us this Arizonan’s information, we’ll happily fix it for them and make it easier and convenient.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:06:44)
The other thing I want to say is unemployment fraud, unfortunately, is on the rise across the country. It’s not only in Arizona. We have erred on the side of trying to help people who have been displaced and are in need. And by and large, those 1.5 million people that I named are good, hardworking Arizonans that have never asked for anything from the government, and then all of a sudden found themselves with no income.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:07:19)
And some others, a very small group, is taking advantage of that by defrauding the system. And they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. So, on both those fronts, and then you mentioned also around renters. We’re about a month away from that. Believe me, we spent so much time talking about public health today and in the last several weeks, appropriately so. Protections are in place, and we’re looking at this in the totality of where we are as a state, what’s happening with the federal and state packages.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:07:59)
We don’t want to see anyone fall through the social safety net. And I would think our actions to date to stretch it and strengthen it should be evidence on how we want to protect Arizonans and we’re getting better. And, hopefully, although DES will be much improved through the stresses and strains and investments that have been put into it, but let’s be hopeful that sometime in the future, we can be working on having people safely and successfully participating in the private sector, rather than government assistance.

Zach Crenshaw: (01:08:36)
I want to ask you one follow up about enforcement. We’ve heard law enforcement, Chief Williams of Phoenix, say they prefer education to enforcement and citations. And people are wondering if violators just don’t even get a slap on the wrist, just a, “Hey, break it up here, folks,” what will lead them to stop? So what is your message to police chiefs, your DPS director, and sheriffs when it comes to actually enforcing this?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:09:00)
Well, I want to thank all of our law enforcement leaders. You mentioned Chief Jerry Williams of Phoenix and the brave women and men of Phoenix PD, Heston Silbert and what’s going on with Department of Public Safety, all of our sheriffs and cops on the frontline. I think the idea of communicating and educating is a posture that most local leaders have embraced. Of course, when necessary there is enforcement. Our cops, they don’t shy away from enforcement when necessary.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:09:38)
And some of the things that we’re trying to do, things that are more public policy campaigns of persuasion and best practices, like masks, in addition to the mandates at the local level. The officers have done a great job. Now, when it comes to some other things like defrauding the government or doing something that is adverse to an executive order to slow the spread, it’s not going to be so much communication and education.

Speaker 1: (01:10:08)
So we’ll go to Dennis [inaudible 00:07:11].

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:10:14)
Hi, Dennis.

Dennis: (01:10:14)
Good afternoon, Governor. Just want to ask you to follow up on enforcement. You’ve really not shown a lot of willingness to really crack down in enforcement. Let’s take bars and restaurants for example. For weeks and weeks, there were lots of video showing downtown Scottsdale was packed. You kept telling us, you kept telling the public, that we should be focused on the good actors and not the bad actors.

Dennis: (01:10:39)
Meanwhile, the number of cases continued to rise, and you’re acknowledging the problem today by saying, you’re putting a pause on this to get those numbers down. Should Arizonans take you seriously this time, and can you guarantee there will be enforcement, not just communication, but enforcement to stop this from happening?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:10:55)
Well, Dennis, in the presentation earlier, you saw an executive order shutting these places down for 30 days. So I don’t know how much more accountable bad actors could be held. And I want to also say that this wasn’t all of the bars. This was some of the bars. But because of the information from Public Health, what we were able to witness, and what we saw as not possible through education and communication became the most severe possible enforcement that we have in the toolbox.

Dennis: (01:11:35)
Yeah, but it’s the …

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:11:36)
So I think that should demonstrate that when necessary, when needed, we will do what it takes to get the job done.

Dennis: (01:11:45)
Well I used that as an example. What about larger crowds? Are you guaranteeing that that’s going to be cracked down? Can you guarantee that that’s going to be enforced? Again, you’ve not shown a big willingness to go out there and enforce these measures with them.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:11:56)
I think you’ve seen a change in tone and direction because of the change in direction of the trajectory of this virus. So we are going to do what is necessary and I mean, whatever is necessary to protect the lives and livelihoods of Arizonans.

Dennis: (01:12:21)
Do you feel like you’ve done enough to communicate with the public, with this crisis standard of care? Obviously, there’s going to be a lot of attention on schools, the executive orders today. The crisis standard of care is a very serious situation in the hospitals, where at some point in the very near future, these health officials will have to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t, because you’re going to be graded on a point system and given a color code, and if you score the wrong one, they’re going to send you home because there’s just no room there. Have you communicated well enough? Do you feel like you need to level with the public?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:12:55)
Well, I think we’ve got to communicate, communicate, communicate. I don’t know that we can communicate enough. In terms of the communication with healthcare leaders and our healthcare facilities, I believe that the communication has been there. We’re going to continue to communicate with the public, and if I wanted to err on the side of communicating anywhere, if you think about March 11th and the first executive order, it was around protecting longterm care because one of the first things we knew in an avalanche of new information around a novel virus was it was the elderly that were most vulnerable.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:13:36)
And if there was a message that was missed along the way, it was that young people were not in danger of the disease or the virus. We’re seeing that young folks with comorbidities, diabetes and obesity are at high risk, and how this virus is also being spread, and that it’s got a high level of asymptomatic spread that makes it difficult to contract. So we’re going to continue to communicate and on each of these fronts, but just know with the providers in terms of access, support, and resources, that that’s something we’re focused on every day.

Speaker 1: (01:14:16)
We’re going to go to Bram next. We’re going to start you [inaudible 01:14:19]. Bram, we thank you.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:14:26)
Hi, Bram.

Bram: (01:14:26)
Hi. Hello, Governor. A question I’m getting a lot about schools. You said at the top, this is going to take several weeks to play out, and really, as far as the eye can see, which is the view of many, many people we talked to. So why just say, “You know what? We’re going to look at opening on August 17th”? How realistic is that? And maybe why not wait till the end of 2020 and say, “You know what, folks? We’ll try this in January.”

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:14:52)
So Bram, August 17th is an aspirational date. We don’t know what is in front of us in July and August. Of course it can change. I would think that Arizonans wouldn’t think it’s in the pioneering spirit that we have, that we would just throw in the towel and say, “Let’s wait until 2021.” Of course, options are on the table, but when I talk about that idea about being vigilant, being flexible, and being humble, we’re not guessing, we’re not speculating. We put out a date that delays the opening that’s aspirational. TBD, more to follow. I don’t really know what more to say beyond that.

Bram: (01:15:42)
It just gets schools in the routine, okay of saying, “Okay, now we’ve got seven more weeks. Let’s get ready again and see how far we can go.”

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:15:48)
Well, we’ve got to get ready to educate regardless. I mean, we’ve got to get ready to educate. So whether that’s distance learning or not, like I said, I think that’s not optimal. And then the other thing is there are other services that are provided by the school in terms of lunches and nutrition. So all of that’s going to be part of the planning. So regardless of what’s in front of us, we still want to make sure that our kids are being educated, and if that’s by distance learning or flexible other means, and then the other services that would be provided.

Bram: (01:16:26)
Can I go back to your answer to Howie’s question about the bars? We knew immediately when your stay-at-home at order ended, bars were supposed to stay closed, but they opened up. Why did it take six weeks to fix that?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:16:42)
We want to make sure that there’s clarity around the guidance. We do want to open our economy. We just want it to be safe, and we want it to be successful. With what we saw with the numbers and the spread, we had to adjust this. And like I said, this was not all, this was some. But the only way to fix it was through executive order and enforcement.

Bram: (01:17:11)
And if I can, a lot of folks have a question about sports.

Speaker 1: (01:17:15)
This is the last question for you.

Bram: (01:17:17)
Absolutely. Youth sports, high school sports, pro sports. Can you walk folks through how each of those is affected by what you’re telling us here today?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:17:25)
So they’re going to be continued to be informed by Public Health guidance. I don’t think anything has changed in terms of if a professional league wanted to play, it would be about the participation from a fan basis at this point in time. And we’re working with county health officials to advise on youth sports, depending on the sport.

Bram: (01:17:54)
But none of those are off? They’re all still … Well, go ahead.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:17:55)
The idea is, where can we wear masks? Where can we physically distance? This is why I’m talking a lot more about tests. Tests can help inform some of these decisions. So we want to make the best possible decisions. The objective here isn’t to tell people no, or you’re not allowed. It’s to turn the trajectory on the virus. So we want to provide some flexibility. Understand, there’s going to be some limitations.

Bram: (01:18:26)
Thanks very much.

Speaker 1: (01:18:26)
We’re going to go to the Zoom board next. This will be our last question. We’re going to go to Mary Jo Bitzel from The Republic. Mary Jo, go ahead.

Mary Jo: (01:18:35)
Hi, Governor.

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:18:36)
Hi, Mary Jo.

Mary Jo: (01:18:38)
Given that in-person school, is going to be delayed for a few weeks, but virtual can continue, what about children in foster care? Have you considered whether to continue the face-to-face visits that children have with their parents? Or should that go back to virtual visits?

Governor Doug Ducey: (01:18:57)
So thank you, Mary Jo. Of course, foster care has been a great concern for us through the pandemic. Our teachers are our best real-time reporters of abuse that does happen inside the home, and when teachers aren’t inside classroom, they’re not able to see what’s happening with our children. Of course, the ideas I’m going to leave this to Dr. Christ and to Director Faust, but I would think with physical distancing, with masking, visits can continue and would be encouraged. So I want to again, say thank you to the press. The communication around You Are Safer at Home has helped save lives and slow the spread, and I would also like to close by saying, remember, arm yourself with a mask. It’s your best defense against this virus?

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