Gov. Ducey discusses unemployment, COVID-19 growth rates as cases in Arizona top 170,000

Governor Doug Ducey held a news conference on July 30 as coronavirus cases in Arizona have surpassed 170,000.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 2,525 new cases on July 30 and an additional 172 deaths. The department said 78 of the new deaths were from death-certificate matching.

The state now has a total of 170,798 cases.

On July 23, Ducey extended the statewide closure of bars, gyms, indoor movie theaters, water parks, and tubing amid COVID-19.

"Businesses seeking to resume operations once the pause has expired must demonstrate compliance with public health guidance as determined by the Arizona Department of Health Services," read a statement on the governor's website.

The governor also announced all school districts and charter school districts in Arizona would need to start teacher-led distance learning by the start of their traditional instruction calendar, regardless of when in-person classroom learning starts.

"For some districts that date lands in July; for others it lands in August," read a portion of the statement.

Ducey declines to back increase in Arizona unemployment

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on July 30 pushed Congress to renew federal payments for people left jobless because of the pandemic but declined to support increasing state unemployment payments that are among the lowest in the nation.

“Congress needs to act,” Ducey said. “This is on Congress.”

Arizona’s unemployment payment maxes out at $240 per week, second-lowest in the nation above only Mississippi. During the coronavirus pandemic that’s been supplemented by a $600 weekly payment funded by the federal government, but Congress does not appear on track to extend the funding before it lapses this week.

More than 450,000 people are receiving unemployment benefits in Arizona, up from about 17,500 before Ducey began ordering businesses to close in March to contain the spread of the virus. The $600 supplemental payments have helped many stay afloat, along with the businesses they patronize and the governments collecting taxes.

Traditional unemployment benefits are funded by taxes assessed on employers for each worker they employ. Some Democrats have pushed unsuccessfully to increase unemployment benefits by increasing the employer surcharge. They’ve also pushed for other changes to the program, such as increasing the amount of money someone can make before their unemployment benefits phase out.

Numbers headed in the right direction

During the news conference, Gov. Ducey says the state's numbers related to COVID-19 are headed in the right direction. Among other numbers, Gov. Ducey talked about the R0 number, which state officials have set a goal of 1.0 or below. That number now, according to Gov. Ducey, is currently at .90.

According to an article on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the R0 number, also called the basic reproduction number, is a metric used to describe the contagiousness or transmissibility of infectious agents.

He celebrated slowing growth in coronavirus cases and easing pressure on hospitals and said people need to continue wearing masks and staying home when possible. He did not lift mandatory closures for bars and gyms or release additional information about metrics he has promised to produce to guide schools in decisions about returning to in-person instruction.

“The decisions and the sacrifice that Arizonans are making are working,” Ducey said. “They are protecting lives and they are protecting livelihoods in our state.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

MAP: Worldwide interactive Coronavirus case data

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code


CDC: How coronavirus spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ:

On, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.


Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

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