PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's governor on Wednesday asked President Donald Trump to issue a major disaster declaration for the state as it braces for a surge of coronavirus cases.
Gov. Doug Ducey said the move is needed to trigger higher federal aid and resources. A declaration would add funding for more mental health care, unemployment and food assistance, the tribal health response and other state efforts.
Ducey also urged Arizonans to be understanding as individuals and small businesses face due dates for bills such as mortgages, rent and utilities with the start of a new month.
“The world has changed since March 1," and routine bills “are now a struggle," Ducey tweeted.
The governor said no family, individual or business should face eviction or lose critical services because of hardships caused by the coronavirus.
“It's basic decency," he said.
Ducey said people who can't afford to pay bills should talk to their landlords or lenders.
“I expect them to work with you; to be good citizens; and to treat people and small businesses with dignity — not lock them out or kick them to the curb," he said.
Arizona on Wednesday reported 1,413 coronavirus cases and 29 deaths, a rise of more than 120 cases and five fatalities from the previous day.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
An emergency rule approved by the state Board of Education on Tuesday means public high school seniors can receive a diploma or academic credit despite school closures through the end of the school year due to outbreak, KJZZ reported.
The emergency rule gives local school officials discretion to decide whether a student should receive a diploma or academic credit but says instruction time lost due to school closure can't be the sole reason to not issue a diploma or academic credit.
While officials can consider students’ completion of educational opportunities offered during the closures, they can't under the rule deny a diploma or credit to a student whose school didn't offer distance-learning and if the student was on track academically before the closure.