Phoenix, Arizona - Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order implementing an Enhanced Surveillance Advisory that will accelerate tracking of COVID-19 cases and strengthen the ability of the Arizona Department of Health Services to respond to the outbreak. The advisory requires hospitals and testing laboratories to report key metrics that will inform the state’s response to COVID-19.
“Protecting public health and ensuring the safety of our communities is job number one for Arizona,” said Governor Ducey. “We are taking proactive action to ensure the public health professionals at the Arizona Department of Health Services have the tools and information they need to combat the spread of COVID-19. Working with healthcare providers and our local partners across the state, this advisory will expand our capability to respond and keep Arizonans safe.”
“My team and I are committed to doing everything we can to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “The enhanced surveillance for COVID-19 information will improve our awareness of our hospital and surge capacity, allowing us to get denominator data on commercial laboratory testing, and collect laboratory specimens to do further analysis and sequencing.”
To better prepare for and respond to the spread of COVID-19, the advisory requires hospitals in Arizona to report daily statistics on staff resources, ventilator availability, intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability, inpatient bed availability, personal protective equipment (PPE) supply levels, medical supply levels as well as describe their current triage process.
The advisory also requires laboratories to report the results of all COVID-19 tests or a weekly aggregate number of total COVID-19 tests performed. In addition, it directs enhanced patient tracking, information sharing and coordination of specimen testing. The order follows Governor Ducey’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency on March 11.
The Arizona Department of Health Services and local health authorities will be empowered to access confidential patient information, including medical records, to identify, diagnose, treat and track persons who may have been exposed. To protect the privacy of patients, any identifying information received from the advisory is confidential.
To coordinate additional testing for COVID-19, the advisory will also allow ADHS to designate other laboratories to assist it in testing specimens if necessary and at state expense. If requested by ADHS or local health authorities, public safety agencies may be requested to coordinate transportation of samples to laboratories for testing.