Gov. Doug Ducey

Gov. Doug Ducey helps distribute free turkeys on Monday at American Legion Post 65 in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey remains adamant he’s not going to force anyone to get inoculated or even wear a mask as covid cases in Arizona rise to the highest level since before the vaccine was available.

The governor said Monday he believes that these decisions should be made by individuals in consultation with their doctors. But he did acknowledge that some people are not checking with medical professionals but instead self-medicating with things like a drug designed to treat parasites in horses.

“Well, I think you do everything you can to get the facts out there,’’ he said. “You want to go to a physician versus Facebook, that’s what I would say.’’

The governor’s comments come as the number of cases in the state has trended upwards in the past month. More notable is the fact that the daily cases are hitting levels not seen since January, before the vaccine was available.

At the same time, the most recent figures showed just 545 vacant inpatient beds at Arizona hospitals, the lowest since the pandemic began.

But there is a shift: Just 2,470 available beds — 28% — were occupied by covid patients, versus in January when those with the virus took up nearly 60% of the available beds.

But the governor, who has been a proponent of people getting vaccinated -- but only if they want -- rejected the idea that whatever the state is doing is not working.

“Listen, the virus is transmissible, it’s contagious, it comes in waves,’’ he said.

“It does appear seeing the data over the past several weeks that there’s another wave on its way,’’ the governor continued. “I would encourage people to talk to their local health care provider or to their family doctor on what they should do in terms of next steps.’’

The governor did not disagree that there are people instead are self-medicating, using non-proven alternatives -- like ivermectin which is generally used to fight parasites in horses and is not recommended as a treatment or preventative for COVID.

That, Ducey said, come back to his point about doing what can be done “to get the facts out’’ and not using social media for medical advice. But the decisions on the vaccine and even more passive prevention methods like masks, the governor said, are beyond what government should be doing.

Not everyone agrees.

Some school districts are requiring faculty and students to wear face coverings while on campus. And cities like Tucson and Phoenix have told employees they need to be vaccinated.

Ducey, who at one time tried to curb those practices with executive orders, noted they can do that, legally, as state laws that sought to them were declared void.

But the trial judge never ruled that the edicts themselves were illegal. What was, said Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper, was the fact they were improperly enacted.

The governor appears interested in revisiting the issue -- presumably trying to have the restrictions reenacted, this time in a way that is legal. But that is not likely to happen until the legislature reconvenes in January, with Ducey saying Monday he still is “reviewing’’ a request by Attorney General Mark Brnovich for a special legislative session before then.

But he clearly was not happy about what is being done in the interim, particularly by cities.

“We’re a state that wants to fund the police, wants to support our workers that are out there,’’ the governor said. “I want to give people the information and respect their choice.’’

And Ducey said the Phoenix mandate is not being well received.

“I’ve got friends on both the police force and the fire department,’’ he said, speaking of one person who called him just Monday.

“He said if they’re going to terminate him he’s going to to take the termination,’’ Ducey said, saying he is hesitant to get vaccinated. “He shared with me his reasons. I respect his thinking on this.’’

And Ducey said the mandates aren’t likely to make a difference but will only cause problems.

``People have made up their mind where they are on this,’’ he said. ``And the city will be less safe because of these foolish, short-sighted decisions.’’

The governor himself does not share that hesitancy about getting vaccinated, having rolled up his sleeve himself and provided financial resources to make the vaccine available But Ducey said that, beyond that, its not his role to change individual minds.

“When someone has questions, they want to go to a subject matter expert on that,’’ he said. “I think that’s a medical doctor or a health care professional.’’

Separately Monday, Brnovich expanded his existing lawsuit against the Biden administration’s mandate that federal workers and employees of those with contracts with the federal government be vaccinated. He added unions representing police and fire fighters in Phoenix.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi rejected a bid by Brnovich to enjoin enforcement of the mandate. But the judge gave the attorney general the opportunity to amend his complaint and try again.

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(23) comments

X Ray

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Joe Biden in 2020: ‘anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America’

havasuhiker

Bigblob people who are vaccinated are getting covid and dying from it. Only stupid people, demorats. believes it works. Actually it is killing you slowly. Congress is exempt from the vaccine.

BigBob

walker - So you also hear a weird little voice in your head called "Bigblob." Odd how many of you Republican/Fascists hear the same non-existent voice. And why in the world do you think "Congress is exempt from the vaccine?" What does that even mean?

Yup

Look at all these liberal sheep on here baa!

BigBob

yup - I see you still have a problem understanding the difference between humans and animals. And tell us how you know sheep are liberals?

1502

Havasu will continue to get sick. If you get Covid pay your own medical bills. Tired of the people getting sick and put up go fund me pages. Take responsibility for your actions.

BigBob

1502 - Fully agree with you. Refuse to get vaccinated? Ger COVID? You're on your own.

Too old for this

Why not do the same for fat people, or smokers? They have been told that they are putting themselves at risk. Have you, or anyone, been given the name of the "expert" who says the vaccine is needed? If they are so good, why didn't they make all the felons take the shots instead of releasing them from prison? Let people make up their minds based on their beliefs, or the recommendations of their physician.

BigBob

twosie - You sad little loser. Being fat or being an ignorant person who smokes is not a public health danger. However, not being vaccinated against COVID makes you a potential carrier thereby endangering everyone who comes near you. And of course there is the chance you will get COVID, but about that I don't care, just one less fool to deal with. If morons such as yourself been around we would still have millions suffering from smallpox, measles, mumps, polio and myriad other diseases bought under control thanks to vaccines.

simon1dog

1502 - [thumbup]

Too old for this

Agreeing with a moron makes you a moron.

Too old for this

Do what the government tells you to do, or else! What a concept, 15.

azbeancounter

When's the last time you guys got upset if someone didn't get a flu shot? No one ever cared or threatened to withhold medical care or insurance benefits over no getting a flu shot. Where's the logic gone?

BigBob

beanie – Your ignorance is truly appealing. The worst “flu” season in modern memory – 2017/2018 - killed 61,000 Americans. In 2020/2021 (so far) COVID has claimed nearly 780,000 Americans.

Too old for this

You are in the wrong country for that to happen. We will even take care of illegals who refuse to get vaccinated when they break into our country.

BigBob

twosie - And yet another lie. Why do you do that?

BigBob

What is it with Republican/Fascists and their hatred of men, women and children? Don't they know they are killing their own constituents? Oh wait, they have no knowledge of anything other than BS from a twice-impeached, lying, fool and right-wing loon pundits who, although vaccinated themselves, keep telling people "DON'T DO IT! IT'S A DEMOCRAT PLOT!"

Yup

Go back in your hole troll!

BigBob

yup - I see, as usual, you are unable to actually address the facts but, as usual, decide to attack me. The normal practice of Republican/Fascists who cannot prove I am in error.

“Your”welcome

“Hey Bobby!” Have you noticed that Arizona, Texas and California are having an increase in COVID-19 cases at the moment. California much worse, do you know what these 3 states have in common?

BigBob

your - Let’s look at the facts instead of your ignorant comment.

1)There were 39 states that reported an increase in new COVID-19 cases for the week that ended Sunday, Nov. 21. Missouri had the largest jump, with a 102 percent increase to 20,231 cases. Connecticut is next with an 85 percent hike to 5,168 cases. Michigan reported a 65 percent increase to 61,551 cases, while Oklahoma saw a 49 percent jump to 5,869 cases and Massachusetts experienced a nearly 48 percent hike to 17,452 cases. In overall numbers, the CDC reports that Michigan had the most new cases in the past 7 days with 61,551 new positive tests.

2)New York is second with 45,987 new cases this past week. Pennsylvania recorded 41,321 new cases, with Ohio next at 38,379 cases.

3) CALIFORNIA IS FIFTH with 29,963 cases the past 7 days.

There were 30 states that reported an increase in deaths related to COVID-19 for the week that ended Sunday. Missouri had the highest jump, with an increase of nearly 2,000 percent to 2,875 deaths. Maine is second with a 78 percent hike to 41 deaths. Rhode Island registered a 77 percent increase with 16 deaths, while South Dakota saw a 71 percent increase to 24 deaths. Texas recorded the most COVID-19 deaths over the past 7 days with 574. Wyoming had the highest death rate per capita, with more than 8 deaths per 100,000 residents. Kentucky is next with nearly 7 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by West Virginia and Montana with more than 6 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Too old for this

His comment was not ignorant at all. The three States he listed share the border with Mexico and the hundreds of thousands of illegals that your hero allows to break into our country are coming here with Covid, Small Pox, and who knows what else.

Try to use common sense sometimes, instead of copy and paste from an unlisted source. You might not look so foolish.

“Your”welcome

“Hey Bobby!” Let’s just compare Arizona and California. When looking at both states and how both are complete opposite, when fighting this man made virus. Please explain to me, How are mandates helping?

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