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Ducey ends COVID-19 emergency declaration as Arizona reaches 2 million virus cases

Arizona reached 2 million COVID case total while numbers of new infections and additional deaths continued to decline along with virus-related hospitalization levels

PHOENIX — On the same day that Arizona reached a milestone of 2 million reported COVID-19 cases, Gov. Doug Ducey ended the state's COVID Declaration of Emergency

Ducey's office said the decision to terminate the declaration was based on the state reaching thresholds established by the Arizona Department of Health Services that "show the virus is no longer as widespread as it once was." 

The termination goes into effect immediately after Ducey announced last week an extension of temporary professional licenses that were issued under the declaration for more than 2,000 critical health care workers through Jan. 1, 2023.

"Thanks to the hard work of many — health care workers, businesses, public and private sector employees — COVID-19 is no longer an emergency in Arizona," Ducey said in a news release. "This virus isn’t completely gone, but because of the vaccine and other life-saving measures, today we are better positioned to manage and mitigate it."

EN ESPAÑOL: Ducey da por terminada declaración de emergencia por COVID-19 cuando Arizona alcanza los 2 millones de contagios

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The state Department of Health Services on Wednesday added 10,143 additional cases in its weekly update but said most of those additional cases added to the pandemic total “date back to October and result from a provider resolving an electronic reporting issue."

Cases reported by the weeks they occurred continued to decline since January, the department said on Twitter.

With the newly reported cases and 385 additional deaths, the state's pandemic totals rose to 2,007,180 cases and 29,268 deaths.

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Meanwhile, there were 429 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds in hospitals statewide as of Tuesday. That's about one-eighth as many during the height of the omicron wave. A sharp decrease also has been seen in cases and deaths.

Arizona's COVID-19 case rate is 11th highest among states and its death rate is third highest, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

The state's pandemic case total reached 1 million late last August.

The Declaration of Emergency was first issued on March 11, 2020, and allowed ADHS to handle the state's response to the pandemic and to determine when conditions were appropriate for terminating the emergency period.

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