By Andrew Oxford | Arizona Republic
Gov. Doug Ducey declared an emergency Wednesday afternoon in response to the new coronavirus, hours after health officials announced a ninth case in the state and the head of the World Health Organization called the outbreak a pandemic.
Arizona health officials stopped short of calling for the cancellation of large events during the state’s busy spring tourism season. But the emergency declaration allows the state to tap into emergency funding, gives authorities additional powers to procure medical supplies and waives licensing requirements to let health care officials take steps such as setting up new hospital beds.
Ducey also issued an executive order that will require skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities to check for symptoms of both health care workers and visitors.
The executive order also includes measures aimed at preventing price gouging while waiving co-pays for testing connected to the new coronavirus.
“While Arizona is not currently facing the number of cases that we’ve seen in some other states, we are anticipating additional positive cases and we’re not taking any chances. This is about public health and protecting lives, especially those of our elderly and most vulnerable,” Ducey told reporters at the state health laboratory near the Capitol.