Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order today limiting dine-in restaurant capacity to 50 percent or less. And while he stopped short of mandating it, he urged Arizonans to stay home as much as possible to weather the recent alarming spike in COVID-19 diagnoses in our state.
“We’ve had a brutal June in Arizona,” Ducey said during an afternoon press conference, his first in 10 days. COVID-19 diagnoses have climbed 50 percent since June 21, rising to 112,671 as of today (July 9). A total of 2,038 Arizonans have died from the unpredictable virus infection, which affects different individuals in very different ways and can be transmitted by unknowing and unaffected carriers.
“We’re looking at a two- to four-week event,” Ducey said. “There is nothing you can do [during that time] that will help more than staying at home.”
When people must go out, he urged wearing masks. “If not for yourself, then for your neighbor, your grandparents and the [overwhelmed] nurses, doctors and healthcare workers,” he said.
Ducey and Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ also announced expanded testing capacity that will launch this Saturday, when a free painless “spit test” for coronavirus infection will be offered at a West Valley drive-up testing site.
“Project Catapult” is projected to ramp up to a capacity of 60,000 daily tests by the end of August, Ducey said, also promising “quicker results” once tests are done.
“We’re going to be living with this virus for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We hope this is the worst of it but we don’t know. And flu season is on the way. If we stay home, and make safer decisions … we could be in a different position in two weeks.”