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Gov. Doug Ducey pleads with Arizonans to follow guidelines as coronavirus cases soar

But Ducey took no new action to curb the fast-spreading infection. Hospitals are likely to resort to 'crisis care' next month.

PHOENIX —

With Arizona a national leader in coronavirus case growth, Gov. Doug Ducey pleaded Thursday for residents to follow all social distancing guidelines, but he didn’t announce any new steps to curb the fast-spreading infection.

“Anyone can get this virus and anyone can spread this virus,” the governor said at a news conference. 

“You are safer at home, you stay healthier at home.”

The governor noted he wasn’t giving an order. “It’s about personal responsibility,” he said.

Ducey’s preferred symbol for the state’s reopening status, a traffic light, shifted from green to yellow. 

“Arizona is on pause,” the governor said. “We do need to change direction … we’re getting hit hard now.”

He didn’t outline any changes in direction or paused activities. 

The apparent intent was to urge residents to follow guidelines on wearing masks, social distancing and large gatherings. 

Ducey singled out Arizonans between the ages of 20 and 44, a segment whose case growth has spiked. “You can make a real difference in slowing the spread of this and reducing the risk."

Since Ducey’s lifting of a stay-at-home order in mid-May, the number of positive coronavirus cases statewide has soared from one in every 20 tests to one in every five. 

In just the past week, Maricopa County has reported one-third of all its coronavirus cases over the last five months. 

The result has been hospital beds and intensive-care units filled to near 90 percent of capacity. 

Hospitals are taking steps to meet mandated capacity limits. Dignity Health announced it would pause some elective surgeries for a week, starting Friday. 

The governor acknowledged that within a few weeks hospitals will likely have to resort to what’s known as “crisis standards of care.” That would give Arizona hospitals greater freedom from state regulations for treating patients. 

An Arizona State University research team projected this week that hospital beds would be full by mid-July.

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