Arizona sees record number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations as Trump visits
Arizona health officials reported yet another record number of coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the same day President Trump is traveling to the state to visit the nation’s southern border and speak at a rally.
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,591 new COVID-19 cases and 42 related deaths. The state previously had its highest number of cases last Thursday and added more than 1,000 cases in three of the last four days, nearly doubling its case count from last week.
Hospitalizations have exceeded 2,000 for the first time amid the pandemic, with 2,136 beds occupied by suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients on Monday, compared with 1,992 the previous day.
Hospitals in Arizona are below capacity, but health officials told the Arizona Republic that hospitals may not have sufficient staff to take care of more COVID-19 patients.
The new figures come as Trump travels to the border city of Yuma, one of the hardest-hit locations in the state, to visit a Border Patrol station and participate in a briefing on border security. He is also visiting a new border wall site in San Luis before heading to Phoenix.
Trump on Tuesday afternoon is slated to attend a rally at a 3,000-seat church in Phoenix. Mayor Kate Gallego (D) has claimed she has no jurisdiction over the area as far as permitting.
Arizona is one of the states with the most relaxed coronavirus restrictions in the country, though after last week’s rising numbers, Phoenix and other cities issued mask mandates.
In a statement released Monday, Gallego said, “Everyone attending tomorrow’s event, particularly any elected official, should set an example to residents by wearing a mask. This includes the President.”
“While I do not believe an event of this magnitude can be held safely, particularly as Arizona sees rising COVID cases, the president has decided to continue with this rally,” Gallego added.
Trump held his first in-person rally since the start of the pandemic in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday. Turnout was below what the campaign anticipated, and most attendees at the rally did not wear face protection.
Hours before the rally in Tulsa, six Trump campaign staffers tested positive for the virus. In another round of testing after the rally, two more tested positive.