TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s a “no” on another shutdown from Gov. Doug Ducey.
During his press conference on Thursday, Sept. 24, he said he would not be shutting down businesses for a third time. This comes despite health officials predicting a rise into the “substantial” transmission category next week.
“Arizona is open. Arizona’s economy is open, Arizona’s education institutions are open, Arizona’s tourism institutions are open," said Ducey. "The expectation is they are going to remain open. We are not--due to a gradual rise in cases be making any dramatic changes.”
As of Thursday, Pima County is in the “moderate” transmission category when it comes to the benchmarks for businesses. This means businesses like gyms, nightclubs and movie theaters must remain under 50% capacity. But Dr. Cara Christ said she expects that to change
“As we’re looking at the data we are seeing that there are counties that will likely go back into substantial spread starting next week," said Christ.
According to the AZDHS website, going back into the substantial category means businesses must remain closed until the county goes back to moderate. This data fueled the previous shutdowns in March and June, but both Ducey and Christ are taking a different stance this time around.
“We want to avoid closing down if we can implement mitigation strategies, that would be preferable," said Christ.
Ducey pointed out [statewide] our positivity rate is low, along with hospital and ICU capacity.
However, in Pima County, the rate of infection is increasing. The most recent data, ending in the week of Sept. 13, shows the county at 105 cases per 100,000 people. Which puts the county back in the substantial category.
It takes two weeks for the health department to change their rating, which could come next week.
The governor says we should anticipate this with increased testing.
“We should expect a rise in cases. You just heard about the amazing technology and rapid results that we’re going to have from saliva based tests and on site tests," said Ducey. "There’s things that we can do just like we have been doing. Socially distancing, wearing masks, washing hands. But Arizona is open and we’re going to remain open in a safe and healthy way.”