Gov. Ducey says Arizona's plan is working, as state reopens from coronavirus-related closure

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, along with state health and emergency officials, is holding a news conference as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Arizona.

Wednesday's news conference was held just days after Arizona's stay-at-home order expired on May 15. The order was put in place at 5:00 p.m. on March 31.

For Arizona, a gradual reopening

Prior to the stay-at-home order's expiration, many facilities across Arizona were already allowed to reopen.

Hair salons, nail salons, and barbershops were allowed to reopen to customers on May 8. On the same day, non-essential retailers were allowed to sell items to customers in-store.

In the days prior to May 8, non-essential retailers were allowed to resume operations, but only via delivery service and other means that do not entail in-store sales.

On May 11, restaurants were allowed to reopen dining rooms to patrons, with modifications that followed social distancing guidelines.  Gyms and pools were able to reopen on May 13.

Some Arizona casinos, including the Ak-Chin and Fort McDowell Casinos, have partially reopened, while some malls in the Phoenix metropolitan area have reopened with reduced capacity and new restrictions.

Gov. Ducey gives updates on Arizona's COVID-19 pandemic

During Wednesday's news conference, Gov. Ducey said the state's reopening and the expiration of the stay-at-home order have been smooth, with not many issues, and that the state remains at phase 1 of the process.

The governor also said COVID-19 and influenza-like illnesses have shown a downward trajectory since the stay-at-home order began in late March. Gov. Ducey also says there are more than enough ventilators available in Arizona.

Meanwhile, more than $8 million has been donated to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief fund by Arizonans, and state officials say they are "working overtime: to help the Navajo Nation, which is battling a serious COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials address pandemic's impact on nursing homes

Earlier in May, state officials announced they intend to test everyone at nursing homes.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc at nursing homes around the country, and in Arizona, of the 343 deaths in Maricopa County, 247 have come from long term care facilities. There are thousands of different types of facilities that fall under the testing category the state said will be getting tests, and Dr. Cara Christ with the Arizona Department of Health Services spoke about why the initiative is only taking off at the end of May.

“Public health has been in these facilities, working in outbreaks, in those types of situations, testing individuals who have had contact, testing employees who worked with those patients and providing infection control recommendations. We’ve been in their facilities, what we’re doing now is broad-based testing of everyone," said Dr. Christ.

Gov. Ducey talks about future goals for Arizona

During the news conference, Gov. Ducey said the state's goal is to open up summer camps, schools, and youth activities, and said he is working with education leaders to resume in-school classes during the fall.

LIVE: Interactive Coronavirus case data and map


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COVID-19 symptoms

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.

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.

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.

Additional resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - How it spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ (In Spanish/En Español)

Arizona COVID-19 Response - Public resources, FAQ, webinars (In Spanish/En Español)

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