Earlier today, COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, was labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization causing the closure of public spaces and cancelation of public events in many states. At 3:00pm, Governor Ducey took decisive action by announcing a declaration of emergency and issuing an Executive Order. Below I am sharing the general impacts of those decisions:
General Impacts of the Emergency Declaration
This declaration will provide licensing boards the authority to waive professional licensure requirements, which will support Arizona in maintaining a robust healthcare workforce.
If a healthcare surge continues to mount, the declaration will allow ADHS to grant temporary waivers of state requirements for healthcare institutions and EMS providers.
At this time, the emergency declaration does NOT institute any mandatory community-wide quarantines, school closures, or cancellation of mass gatherings.
General Impacts of the Executive Order
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among our most vulnerable Arizonans, the executive order directs ADHS to make emergency rules for skilled nursing, intermediate care facilities, and assisted living facilities to implement visitor policies designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including:
Instituting policies to require screening and triage before entry by staff, visitors, vendors, and contractors;
Establishing disinfectant schedules for frequently touched surfaces; and
Establishing policies of distancing patients who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 from other patients in common areas.
In order to support public health recommendations for individuals to utilize telemedicine options when seeking non-emergency healthcare, insurers will be required to cover telemedicine services as an in-network benefit.
Insurers will be required to treat COVID-19 testing laboratories as in-network providers.
Consumer protection will be put in place to prevent price gouging for people seeking diagnostic and treatment services related to COVID-19.
As of today, nine cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Arizona: three in Maricopa County, five in Pinal County, and one in Pima County. In areas where community spread of COVID-19 has been detected, there is likely a heightened level of risk.
Updated information can be found at – www.azhealth.gov/COVID-19.