PHOENIX (AP) — Four Democratic mayors called on Republican Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday to institute a statewide requirement for people to wear masks in public, a move that came as Arizona health officials reported over 4,000 additional known COVID-19 cases for the second consecutive day as well as increased hospitalizations.

They accused the governor of failing to provide leadership in the state’s battle against a new surge of the coronavirus.

“What we need is decisive statewide actions, and unfortunately we are not seeing that from Gov. Ducey,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said.

Ducey Chief of Staff Daniel Scarpinato pushed back on the request, noting that the mayors were doing little to enforce their own mask ordinances or ensure that existing safety measures put in place by the governor are being enforced.

“They have enforcement power, and they’re not using it,” Scarpinato said.

Ducey said at a news conference Wednesday that he would not impose a statewide order because 90% of the population is already under county and city mandates that he allowed them to implement in June and state orders require masks in gyms and some other businesses.

“I think the steps that we’ve put in place, the participation that we have, has got the maximum amount of compliance with Arizonans wearing a mask,” Ducey said. “In addition, it’s nearly impossible to participate in our economy anywhere without wearing a mask.”

That wasn’t good enough for the mayors, who also included Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans, Tolleson Mayor Anna Tovar and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

“If we had a statewide mandate there wouldn’t be mixed messages. There would be a united front on how we’re tackling this issue,” Tovar said. “COVID doesn’t stop at our city limits. We are trying our best to do everything possible. But boy would it so much be easier if we had that leadership and that cooperation from Gov. Ducey.”

They also said Ducey has barred them from implementing any measures he did not approve.

Gallego and Romero did acknowledge that their police forces were not doing aggressive mask enforcement, saying it was county health departments that oversee compliance in businesses.

“The Phoenix Police Department has had hundreds of educational contacts with our residents talking about the importance of masks,” Gallego said. But “we believe that arresting people and putting them in jail where that would be one of the most likely areas of transmission is not the way to get through this.”

Their comments matched Ducey’s own preference for a focus on education. State health officials have shut down businesses that were not following guidelines, and on Thursday announced they had closed a Phoenix-area gym.

The state Department of Health Services reported 4,471 new cases Friday and 43 additional deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 291,696 cases and 6,427 deaths.

The number of reported infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Arizona have climbed steadily since October and into November, reaching 1,835 as of Thursday, including 431 patients in intensive care beds.

The additional 4,000-plus daily new cases reported Thursday and Friday are near peaks recorded during Arizona’s summer surge while current hospitalizations are about half those of summer surge levels.

In other developments:

—On Friday, Banner Health joined the Mayo Clinic in banning most visitors because of the pandemic. The new Banner rule goes into effect in Arizona on Sunday evening.

—The Navajo Nation reported 351 new COVID-19 cases, which they say is a record high, along with five more deaths. The Navajo Nation has been hard-hit by the pandemic and has seen 623 deaths so far.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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Associated Press writer Paul Davenport contributed.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(22) comments

simon1dog

More hate from Radical Democrat Terrorists (RDT). Pretty much use to it by now.

BigBob

"used" - And the only terrorists I see are Typhoid Donnie's Moron Brigade and the NRA.

IcePick

Deaths and Mortality 2018

Data are for the U.S.

Death rate: 867.8 deaths per 100,000 population

Source: National Vital Statistics System – Mortality Data (2018) via CDC WONDER

Number of deaths: 2,839,205

Life expectancy: 78.7 years

Infant Mortality rate: 5.66 deaths per 1,000 live births

Source: Mortality in the United States, 2018, data tables for figures 1, 2, and 4

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

Heart disease: 655,381

Cancer: 599,274

Accidents (unintentional injuries): 167,127

Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 159,486

Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 147,810

Alzheimer’s disease: 122,019

Diabetes: 84,946

Influenza and Pneumonia: 59,120

Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 51,386

Intentional self-harm (suicide): 48,344

BigBob

Over quarter-of-a-million innocent American men, women and children dead from the trump virus and all Typhoid Donnie can do is hide in the bunker, suck his thumb and whine about being the BIGGEST LOSER of all time.

Biden 306 – Typhoid Donnie 232, with all states called.

Typhoid Donnie ends stupid Arizona lawsuit; abandons Voter Fraud Hotline”; tells Geraldo he will do “the right thing.” (Anyone believing he will off himself is dreaming)

Typhoid Donnie law firm calls it quits.

Pennsylvania will NOT do a recount.

Michigan judges refuses to hear GOP lawsuit.

So far he is 1 out of 35 with lawsuits not even being heard as judges laugh him out of court.

Dawn King

FREEDOM! Let’s break out more body bags for Jesus!

tomgarven

Oh my goodness Dawn I can't believe you just posted this. I must not understand your meaning between the two topics. I mean the tie between body bags and Jesus. ?????

Dawn King

You mean to tell me you haven’t seen the evangelicos, mostly twump groupies, that openly, proudly and ignorantly spew nonsense doubting the severity of this disease, or that their faith alone, in Jesus, will protect them from the virus? Or, that contracting is just God’s will?

HavasuGuy

Dawn - They will come to reality very soon, on everything. Jesus warned us to not tempt God, I certainly won't.

tomgarven

Nope can't say that I have seen a whole bunch of that Dawn but even if I had, I would have probably just ignored most of it, ha ha. From my perspective I wear a mask, wash my hands often, practice social distancing and had a UVC light installed in my AC unit. I also started taking vitamin d3 and zinc supplements since some research seems to suggest it strengthen the immune system. However, if a friend or relative asks me to say a prayer for them I most likely will. But generally speaking I trust me, myself and I and my physician.

I now know what you meant by that sustenance. Have a great day and stay safe.

Havajerry

There were 153 new cases in Mohave County yesterday. 377 in the past 4 days. We need an enforced mask mandate. The mayors can do it, law enforcement can enforce it. We will have a hard shutdown if we do not do it.

tomgarven

Hopefully Havajerry a vaccine will be available soon. The question then becomes who will take the vaccine. I will since I am in the old peoples demographic with other complications, ha ha.

Now do my two young teen age grandson's need to take it? That of course if up to their parents but by then they might just have herd immunity. Who knows for sure the way viruses mutate.

And a hard shutdown - I sure hope not.

Havajerry

Yes, the early vaccine results look good. It will be June of next year before enough is produced, distributed and administered to cover as much of the country as will take it. In the meantime, infections and deaths are rising exponentially. Hundreds of thousands more people will die if we do not have enforced mask ordinances.

1502

Bar crowd pay your medical bills if you get cv19.

tomgarven

If it is a fact that Mayors have the authority to implement a mask mandate then these Mayors are the ones failing their communities in my opinion. So why do I take that position. Well for the basic fact that each community is unique and a State wide mask mandate MAY not be in the best interest of every Mayor in every community. And to me the same applies to every city. Certainly the city of Tucson is different than White Fish Montana and a blanket mask mandate would most likely not be the right action to take. The two cities are not even close to having the same demographics and what works for one community may not work for a different community. That is why We-The-People have chosen to have our own Mayor and local government which is to act in our best interest.

For example, a rural community is far different than a densely populated environment and each Mayor must do what they believe is appropriate based on the demographics of their community. I also believe that just maybe, these Mayors are looking for someone else to blame for their failure to act in a responsible manner. It is far easier to just say "well Ducey said to do this" than to man up and take responsibility for your own actions for your own community. As the Mayor of a community weren't you elected to provide leadership and to act in the best interest of people who elected you? I think these Mayors were and if a mask mandate is appropriate for each of their communities then do the work that is necessary and get it done.

That is my position and I am sticking with it. What might work for Tucson and its Mayor may certainly not work for another community like Lake Havasu City. It's time to stop the blame game and get back to when We-The-People were responsible for our own actions.

BigBob

Tom, I've always found it interesting that Republicans whine incessantly about "states rights" but have no use of county or city rights.

tomgarven

As you have read so many times from me it is the government closest to us which we have the most control over. We can certainly make an appointment and go talk with our Mayor. What do you think the odds are of us getting an audience with either Ducey OR Biden? Are you into odds making BigBob, [rolleyes]

BigBob

After I wrote my 3rd novel that was based in Las Vegas and working with casino surveillance operations I do not pay any attention to the odds.

Dawn King

Tom, I mostly have to commend you on your level-headed evaluation of all-sides-of-the-argument approach, but this comment reflects some real trumpian/libertarian bs. Wish as you might, but minimizing the health and economic impacts throughout our country, rural or not, won’t make it go away. People travel and so does Covid-19. South Dakota now has the highest number of caseloads per capita in the country. Mask mandates should not be a political issue....it is a significant health issue affecting society at large. Fact is, we already have regulations about attire in public. You cannot walk down the street in most places drinking alcohol. You cannot smoke in most public places. Does the phrase “no shirt, no shoes, no service” ring a bell? Many personal actions have been taken for the sake of public health in public. Wearing a mask to control the spread of this disease is no different. Don’t believe me, go ahead, light up a smoke on an airplane. Go ahead, walk down the Main Street and urinate on the corner. Take a stand and walk into Smith’s Market wearing nothing but your birthday suit. See what happens. I’m sick of people using the personal freedom card and getting away with it, when the argument was used for other things in the past and the argument was met with scoffs and brushoffs. The fact is, we have to exist in a society and personal liberties end when they put the rest of the public at risk. Please stay safe and do your part by simply wearing a mask.

NitaCat

The mask does nothing, it is simply a control mechanism. If that saved us from disease we probably would have done it a long time ago when flu season went around every year. It's different now, there's an agenda. Make us weak and vulnerable, then give us a vaccine that will really kill us. If you like wearing the mask so much, wear two and that way you are doubly suffocated and protected and I am free to breathe. The "New Normal" was introduced to us very early to set us up for what is happening now. So sad that people are falling for it. Meanwhile, the mental health of people is rapidly declining. You won't hear much about that though. We are told "wearing masks and social distancing is for our own good." I say, let's just lay down and die right now and then we won't have to worry about "covid 19". And while we've all done that, somebody in very high power will be laughing their butts off. We have all been had.

BigBob

There are friend and family of more than a quarter-of-a-million dead Americans from the trump virus that call you out as a fool.

tomgarven

[smile]

RESIST

Ducey is a puppet and Arizonans aren't important to him!

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