TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Thousands of physicians from across Arizona have called on Governor Doug Ducey to take additional steps to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
”Listen, COVID-19 is throwing missiles at us and Governor Ducey thinks he can protect the people of Arizona by handing out umbrellas,” said Dr. Cadey Harrel.
Harrel is a family medicine doctor in Tucson. She is also the president of Agave Community Health & Wellness, a nonprofit dedicated to achieving health equity through community health education.
Dr. Harrel joined 7,000 Arizona health care professionals urging Governor Ducey to implement new, statewide protocols.
They want the governor to create a statewide mask mandate, limit group sizes, including at sporting events and potentially issue another stay-at-home order.
On Friday, community physicians and the Community to Protect Medicare hosted a virtual meeting to explain why they believe more actions are needed.
“Even the White House Task force announced this week that Arizona should be doing more,” said retired doctor of family medicine, Susan Hughes. “The report recommends among other mitigation protocols quote no indoor gatherings outside of immediate households, this should include in person instruction for our schools.”
For these doctors, this battle is personal.
“My patient population is largely lower socioeconomic income in South Tucson,” Harrel said. “What we are seeing is multi-generational households that are being really hit by the virus. I had one family where there were three members of that family in the ICU at one time. The two parents died. The son who was in his 30s, he fortunately did survive, but he has major disabilities; he has other long term health consequences from this.”
While the doctors acknowledge Governor Ducey has taken mitigation measures, but do not believe they are strong enough.
Dr. Sheetal Chhaya is a rheumatologist in Phoenix, and said human and physical resources are slim.
Governor Ducey needs to know Arizona has been and is at its tipping point,” said Dr. Chhaya.