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12 News, other Arizona media file suit for records of nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks

The lawsuit comes after weeks of questions and concerns about how many nursing homes have been severely impacted by the spread of the virus in Arizona.

Editor's Note: The above video is from a press conference where state leaders discussed long-term facilities.

12 News and three other Arizona news outlets have filed a complaint against the Arizona Department of Health Services and its director Dr. Cara Christ for records related to long-term care facilities with coronavirus outbreaks. 

The suit comes after weeks of questions and concerns about how many nursing homes have been severely impacted by the spread of the virus in Arizona.

12 News is asking for public records that show the number of nurse home residents that have tested positive for coronavirus and the number of individuals who have been taken to and from the hospital as a result.

"These public records containing the COVID-19 Data are integral to the public’s ability to monitor the safety of Arizona’s elderly and infirm population," the suit says. 

RELATED: Long-term care COVID-19 cases, deaths continue to increase as state does not release names of facilities

12 News filed a public records request with the AZDHS on April 7 for access to information on the number of COVID cases reported in nursing homes. 

AZDHS denied the request citing "overarching legal and public health responsibilities, including a responsibility to protect the privacy of Arizonans' health-related data."

Health experts say elderly people and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk of dying from the virus. 

And nursing homes around the Valley have been hit hard by the outbreak. Nearly two-thirds of coronavirus deaths in Maricopa County center around long-term care faculties, according to county data. 

A Chandler care facility confirmed Friday that four people have died and dozens of residents and staff tested positive for COVID-19

RELATED: 22 COVID cases reported at Chandler nursing home reflect nationwide surge

RELATED: 'I feel very unsafe', workers at nursing facilities concerned over health and safety of staff and patients amid COVID-19