PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Tolleson, and Tempe mayors wrote a letter to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to do more to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego spoke with Arizona’s Family Friday morning about the surge in Arizona and her frustrations with Ducey’s most recent press conference.
"Phoenix is the largest city in the country that has not received federal surge testing. For months, I have been requesting it early on in the outbreak. We got a response from the federal government that we did not have sufficient levels of the virus in our community to warrant a federal testing partnership. Now with us leading the nation unfortunately, I made another push. I appeared on a Sunday TV program this week and as soon as I got off, the White House called and said we want to do more. The next day I was on the phone with the admiral in charge of testing for the country," said Gallego.
Gallego said that she felt like the measures Ducey made in his most recent press conference were really half of what they should have been and believes more needs to be done and soon.
"As Arizona mayors, we are deeply concerned about the current response to the COVID19 pandemic in our state. We appreciate you taking the difficult but necessary actions last week of closing certain venues that pose a high risk of community transmission. While this was an important step, we believe additional actions are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives."
Here is what the mayors want Ducey to enforce:
- Mandate statewide mask-wearing in public settings
- Increase testing capacity, contact tracing, and isolation for positive cases
- Encourage Arizonans to stay home as much as possible
The mayors agreed that they supposed additional closures including indoor dining entirely, barbershops, hair and nail salons and other venues, in hope of slowing the spread.
"We are all eager to return to some sense of normalcy and support our businesses and their workers through this extraordinarily challenging time. The fact remains that our economy will not recover until we are able to slow the spread and rebuild consumer confidence. The longer we wait to act, the longer and more severe the blow to our economy will be, the longer it will take to safely send our children back to school, and more lives will be needlessly lost."
On Thursday, Governor Ducey created a new executive order that would limit indoor dining to 50% or less.
"We have had a brutal June in Arizona," he said. "No county in Arizona -- no matter how rural or how sparely populated -- has been spared. ... Everything we will do going forward will be to protect and promote public health in Arizona. ... When in doubt, we will err on the side of protecting lives and proceed with caution."
Ducey is also working with Arizona Department of Health Services to increase free testing in hot spots in Arizona including Maryvale and South Phoenix.