COMMENTARY: Doctor-former lawmaker outlines what Arizona must do to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19

By Matt Heinz | Arizona Mirror

Like all states across the country, Arizona is experiencing unprecedented challenges and terrible loss of life in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Already, more than 9,900 of our fellow Arizonans have fallen ill, and, tragically, 450 have died of COVID-19, according to state health officials. 

Currently, about 55,000 people are incarcerated in Arizona’s prisons and jails, and thousands of correctional facility staff are directly in harm’s way, says Dr. Matt Heinz.

While Gov. Doug Ducey has taken some steps to flatten the curve, these numbers increase daily. Without access to widespread testing, public health authorities fear that the true numbers may be much higher and will continue to climb. While no Arizonan has gone untouched by this crisis, thousands of our most vulnerable neighbors are at serious risk of falling through the cracks: the incarcerated population. 

Currently, about 55,000 people are incarcerated in Arizona’s prisons and jails, and thousands of correctional facility staff are directly in harm’s way. As a hospital physician, I’m privileged to join our dedicated healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines in the fight to save lives and prevent needless suffering.

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