Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. (Photo by Josh Orcutt/Cronkite News)
Ducey ends COVID-19 emergency declaration as Arizona prepares for future
Governor Doug Ducey is terminating the state’s COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency based on the state reaching thresholds established by the Arizona Department of Health Services that show the virus is no longer as widespread as it once was.
The termination takes effect immediately, and follows the recent signing of Senate Bill 1309, providing an extension of temporary professional licenses for more than 2,000 critical health care workers through Jan. 1, 2023.
“Thanks to the hard work of many — health care workers, businesses, public and private sector employees — COVID-19 is no longer an emergency in Arizona,” Governor Ducey said. “This virus isn’t completely gone, but because of the vaccine and other life-saving measures, today we are better positioned to manage and mitigate it. COVID-19 challenged us in ways we never could’ve imagined. No corner of our state — no corner of our country or the world — was spared. But we met that challenge head on by prioritizing lives, livelihoods and individual liberties. The time is right to move forward.”
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The Governor’s comments were echoed by Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th U.S. Surgeon General and special adviser to Governor Ducey on public health preparedness.
“The current COVID-19 outbreak period in Arizona has ended. COVID-19 is by no means completely through with us, however, and it’s reasonable to expect we will see increases in cases at times as the virus mutates to survive,” Dr. Carmona said. “We now have the experience and tools in place to address what may be to come while public health continues doing what we do best: infectious disease surveillance, prevention, and control.”
The Governor and ADHS remain committed to encouraging Arizonans to get vaccinated and boosted to protect against severe illness and death from COVID-19 and to recommending other appropriate mitigation steps based on local conditions and each person’s risk, such as staying home when sick. ADHS and local public health partners will continue supporting vaccination and testing efforts, contact tracing, and infection control assistance in healthcare and long-term care facilities. Vaccines and over-the-counter tests will continue to be widely available.
The COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency issued March 11, 2020, directed ADHS to coordinate all matters pertaining to the public health crisis and the state’s response. It established that ADHS would determine when conditions were appropriate for terminating the emergency period.
The COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency made possible the Arizona Surge Line under which ADHS facilitated the transfer of over 8,000 COVID-19 patients to appropriate levels of care at other hospitals and emergency procurement authority that allowed state agencies to rapidly procure goods and services, like personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Arizona also led the way in vaccination distribution, establishing the first in the nation 24/7 drive-thru vaccination site at State Farm Stadium. The site was described as a “national model” by President Biden.
Beginning the week of March 13-19, COVID-Like Illness among those visiting emergency rooms or admitted to the hospital was below the baseline of 2 percent that ADHS had established as a measure of the current outbreak period. In addition, COVID-19 cases fell to 2,054 during the week of March 20-26, down 99 percent from 151,312 cases during the week of Jan. 9-15.
Hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 have fallen to 5 percent of inpatient beds and 7 percent of intensive-care unit beds, down from 57 percent and 63 percent, respectively, in January. Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of Arizonans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 60 percent of all Arizonans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.