Photo by Bret Kavanaugh Arizona hospitals told to "fully activate"
Photo by Bret Kavanaugh

Hospitals have once again been asked to postpone elective surgeries.

Hospitals in Arizona were told to “fully activate” their respective emergency plans in response to COVID-19 by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The ADHS director sent out a letter asking hospitals to prepare more beds and consider either reducing or postponing elective surgeries. 

Banner Health revealed they have seen a steady climb of cases of the coronavirus in Arizona over the past two weeks. In fact, ventilated patients have quadrupled since May 15. 

ADHS was recently under fire for allegedly reporting incorrect hospitalization numbers on the ADHS coronavirus dashboard since at least April.

On June 6, Santa Cruz County shared a tweet announcing “The virus is spreading quickly in our community, we now have nearly 600 cases.”

Now, there are 615 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz county, according to the latest numbers.

Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey appears to be more focused on the return of Arizona’s economy, concentrating instead on expanding testing for COVID-19.

Ducey has pushed to put the coronavirus in the past since President Donald Trump’s May 5 visit to a mask-making facility in Phoenix. Trump’s stop in Phoenix was part of a larger attempt to demonstrate the need to ease stay-at-home orders even as the coronavirus remains a dire threat.


Presidential pivot

After holding nearly daily briefings on the coronavirus in late March and early April, Trump abandoned them last month. He has not held a coronavirus briefing since May 15. He complained in late April that the briefings were “Not worth the time & effort.”

Instead, he has used press events to complain about protests, attack China, threaten social media companies, and misrepresent his record on prescription drug costs.

Earlier this month, NPR reported that the administration’s coronavirus testing czar, Adm. Brett Giroir, said he will be “demobilized” from working on the issue with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a few weeks and will not be replaced. The lack of widespread testing remains a problem in dealing with the spread of the coronavirus and ending social distancing, according to public health experts.

Rather than solve the problem, Trump’s strategy appears to be simply to urge the nation to ignore it. Last week, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said Trump had called him and demanded that North Carolina disregard safety rules intended to curb the virus’s spread and allow him to hold the scheduled Republican National Convention in August with no social distancing, face masks, or other safety measures in place. If the state refused to let him do so, he said, he would consider relocating it to one that would.

Even Trump’s tweets have mostly stopped discussing the pandemic. Though in recent days he has tweeted that vaccines and therapeutics are “coming along really well” and complained that the virus was a “very bad ‘gift’ from China,” the his focus has mainly been elsewhere.

On Tuesday, he gave his “Complete and Total Endorsement!” to nine Republican alliespraised law enforcement for “Overwhelming Force” and “Domination” over citizens protesting against police violence in Washington, D.C.; and attacked Democratic leaders in New York and members of the press.

So far, more than 111,000 Americans — including over 1,000 Arizonans —have died as a result COVID-19.

The American Independent Foundation contributed to this report.