PHOENIX — Governor Ducey declared a public health emergency in Arizona Wednesday in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
So far, Arizona has seen nine cases of coronavirus, with two confirmed positive and seven others diagnosed as presumptive positive cases.
Ducey made the declaration at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“While our state is not currently facing the number of cases we’ve seen in some other states, we are anticipating additional positive cases — and we’re not taking any chances," Ducey said in a statement. "Arizonans should not panic — our approach will be calm and steady. This Emergency Declaration and Executive Order continue our effort to protect public health and save lives.”
According to tweets from AZDHS, the declaration and executive order will "waive the licensing requirements for healthcare professionals, allows the state to access $500,000 in emergency funds, and provides emergency procurement authority to procure goods and services as needed to protect public health."
The governor's office also said in a news release that the executive order does the following:
- 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 co-pays 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.
Governor @DougDucey signed a Public Health Emergency Declaration today that will provide health officials with the tools needed to combat the spread of COVID-19. This will ensure there is not a shortage of medical professionals or resources in our state https://t.co/E0IQ2AmKfr
— AZ Dept. of Health (@AZDHS) March 11, 2020
According to the CDC, "a presumptive positive case has tested positive by a public health laboratory and is pending confirmatory testing at CDC. Stats are reporting presumptive positive cases independently."
Sveral precautions have been taken in Arizona surrounding major events, including the announcement that there will be no live audience for the Democratic debate in Phoenix this Sunday.