Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction advocates for statewide mask mandate amid COVID-19 case surge

Face mask with Arizona flag (file)

Arizona's top education official is backing a statewide mask mandate, as well as other measures, as Arizona sees a surge in COVID-19 cases.

In a statement posted to her unverified Twitter page, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said she is in support of not only a statewide mask-wearing mandate, but also a limit on social gatherings, quarantine and testing requirement for seasonal residents, expanded outdoor dining options, and a statewide pause on winter sports.

"These COVID-19 mitigation efforts are essential to protecting our healthcare and education professionals and institutions," Supt. Hoffman wrote in the tweet.

Arizona’s outbreak bottomed out in September but has steadily worsened through October and into November. On Nov. 16, Arizona health officials on Monday reported 1,476 new COVID-19 cases but no additional deaths. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, including ventilator use, continues to trend upward. 

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.