By Andrew Oxford and Stephanie Innes | Arizona Republic
Some Arizona counties likely will return to the category of “substantial spread” of COVID-19, but officials want to avoid another shutdown, the state’s governor and health director said Thursday.
Under the state’s guidelines, that level of virus spread could trigger restrictions on businesses, but Gov. Doug Ducey said that wouldn’t happen barring a dramatic increase.
State data shows at least two counties surpassed the state’s ‘moderate’ benchmark of cases per 100,000 individuals for business reopening for one week — Pima and Coconino.
On the state’s business operations dashboard, having more than 100 cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks constitutes ‘substantial’ spread.
“So, we’re starting to work with those county health departments to identify if there are targeted areas where we could work specifically with those business owners,” said Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ, though she did not name specific counties. “We want to avoid closing down. If we can implement mitigation strategies, that would be preferable.”
Immediately after Christ finished that statement, Ducey took to the microphone and emphatically said the state will remain open.