PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Governor Doug Ducey held a news conference Thursday to announce that schools would re-open later this summer. But the rationale he used for increasingly re-opening Arizona collided with an inconvenient truth: more people are showing up at emergency rooms with COVID-19 symptoms than ever before.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Thursday afternoon that Arizona schools will be allowed to resume for the 2020-2021 school year.
"Yes, over the last two days, we have seen an increase in the number of COVID-related inpatients, emergency room visits," said Dr. Cara Christ. She is the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
But she went to cast doubt on whether that data was accurate because it came from individual hospitals.
"We will continue to monitor it because it's self-reported. That may be a reporting issue. What we're going to be looking for is trends in that data over weeks," said Christ. But the news conference began with Ducey pointing to bright spots, as he sees them.
"You take a look at this chart, and you can possibly see the beginning of a downward trend," said Ducey, referring to the percent of people who test positive for coronavirus, compared to the total number of people tested.
Ducey also pointed to a reduction in the number of new hospitalizations across the state, and the hospital system's continued ability to absorb new cases.
But other data-sets show a more troubling picture. The number of people showing up at emergency rooms with COVID-19 or its symptoms has risen to its highest level yet. So has the number of people hospitalized with the disease, as well as the number of patients being treated in intensive care units.
That prompted one reporter to ask whether the governor was "cherry-picking the data."
"Your information is wrong, and your question is misleading," said Ducey in response.
You can see the data here.