Gov. Ducey: “Facts Not Fear:” The Latest on COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (previously known as novel coronavirus) is a respiratory disease that has very similar symptoms to the seasonal flu. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. It’s spread person-to-person either from close contact with an infected person or contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The people most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those with recent travel to an area with ongoing transmission of the disease, and people with close contact to someone diagnosed or suspected of having the disease. The majority of people who contract the disease have mild symptoms. The elderly and/or those with underlying chronic medical conditions have a higher risk.

Arizona currently has 9 cases (3 in Maricopa County, 5 in Pinal County and 1 in Pima County). Daily updates on the number of cases can be found at azhealth.gov/COVID19.

What can you do to protect yourself?

The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses are to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What to do if you think you should be tested for COVID-19:

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Your healthcare provider will work with the local health department and ADHS to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

For more answers to frequently asked questions and information about the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.

What action is Arizona taking?

  • On January 27, 2020, the state activated the Health Emergency Operations Center to track suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the local, national and global level.

  • On March 2, 2020, Arizona became one of the first states in the nation to be certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to test for COVID-19.

  • On March 4, 2020, Arizona received $500,000 in federal funding to support COVID-19 Response, providing immediate access to resources for a limited number of states and local jurisdictions impacted by the outbreak.

  • On March 11, 2020, Governor Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency and an Executive Order to provide health officials and administrators with tools and guidance necessary to combat the continued spread of COVID-19 and to reduce financial burdens on Arizonans by lowering healthcare costs associated with the virus (more information provided below).

  • On March 11, 2020, Arizona received over $12.4 million from the CDC to support the public health response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Key funding priorities will include surveillance and investigation activities, laboratory testing, infection control supply procurement and distribution, and risk communication.

  • On March 12, 2020, Governor Ducey signed legislation to appropriate $55 million to Arizona’s Public Health Emergency Fund to support the state’s continued efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

  • The Governor’s Office is coordinating closely with public health officials and experts on the ground, including hospitals, nursing home facilities and local health officials. Yesterday, Governor Ducey held a conference call with over 400 district, charter and private school administrators to answer questions and offer additional guidance.

  • The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is conducting regular briefings, webinars, and providing guidance to community stakeholders including, school administrators, healthcare providers, government officials and business leaders.

What does the Governor’s Executive Order do?

The Governor’s Executive Order is aimed at protecting Arizonans and populations at high-risk of serious complications from this virus. The order:

  • Requires insurance companies and health plans to cover out of network providers, including out of plan laboratories and telemedicine providers.

  • Waives all copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for consumers related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing and decreases copays for telemedicine visits.

  • Implements consumer protections, including prohibiting price-gouging on COVID-19 of diagnosis and treatment-related services.

  • Requires symptom checks of healthcare workers and visitors at skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

What does the Governor’s Emergency Declaration do?

The Emergency Declaration provides the following tools to address the spread of COVID-19, by:

    • Establishing ADHS as the entity responsible for coordinating all matters pertaining to the public health emergency response of the State.

    • Allowing ADHS to waive licensing requirements to provide healthcare officials with assistance in delivering services during times of heightened demand.

    • Allowing the state to access $500,000 in emergency funds to aid in measures and resources to protect public health.

    • Providing the state with emergency procurement authority to procure goods and services as needed to protect public health.

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