FILE - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

 (The Center Square) – The addition of commercial testing availability in Arizona has led to a sharp increase in known positive cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that’s infected tens of thousands of Americans and killed more than 600. 

On Monday, the Arizona Department of Health Services listed 234 known cases of residents who had tested positive for the virus. They updated their figures Tuesday to show 326 cases, 285 of the total being found due to private laboratory testing, which began last week. Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order executed Monday requires the private businesses to give the state information on the count of their negative tests as well but the figures have yet to reflect those figures.

As of Tuesday, five Arizonans have died due to complications stemming from COVID-19. 

The increase comes a day after Ducey said the state “is not there yet” 

“We’re following the facts specifically to the state of Arizona,” Ducey said in a news conference Monday. “The CDC isn’t there yet. Arizona is not there yet. We’re not at the same stage as other states.”

Last week, Ducey ordered all bars, dine-in areas of restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters closed in counties with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Per the state’s latest figures, only Gila, Mohave, La Paz, and Greenlee counties have yet to see a resident test positive for the virus.

As of Monday, at least 16 states have issued similar types of stay-at-home orders for their populations, representing what CNN estimates to be 43 percent of the U.S. population.

Ducey said Vice President Mike Pence, who President Donald Trump tapped to head the coordinated effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic, told governors Monday that the federal government has no plans to implement any type of stay-at-home order at this time. 

Trump said Tuesday that he would like to see business restrictions lifted in a matter of weeks, not months, saying he’d like to see restrictions lifted nationally by Easter.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.