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October 22, 2020

Rep. Kirkpatrick Hosts Weekly COVID-19 Task Force

Concerns of Rising Cases, Eviction Concerns

(TUCSON, A.Z.) — The Office of Rep. Kirkpatrick released the following statement on this week’s COVID-19 Task Force meeting. Since May, the task force has had weekly conference calls to discuss the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 throughout Southern Arizona and provide federal updates.  

The weekly agenda includes an introduction from Rep. Kirkpatrick and her legislative team with federal updates on healthcare, small business and labor policies. After congressional policy updates, the industry-wide group takes turns speaking about their organization’s experiences on the frontlines and share areas of need.

On today’s call, the Task Force welcomed a new community member to the Task Force, Epidemiologist for Cochise County, Martha Montano.

“I’m grateful that community leaders continue to join and participate in our Task Force throughout this national health and economic crisis,” said Outreach Director Billy Kovacs.

Health officials emphasized growing community concerns about the uptick of COVID-19 cases in Arizona, which have been slowly but steadily rising. A rise in cases could potentially lead to an increase in hospitalizations as well.

In addition, the governor’s moratorium on evictions is set to expire on October 31st. Despite public pressure for an extension, the governor has not yet issued one, potentially leaving thousands of Arizonans homeless come November 1st.

“The concerns raised on today’s call further highlighted our need for a national strategy to combat COVID-19, and for an extension of the moratorium on evictions in Arizona,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “As Arizona’s Appropriator, I’m fighting hard for continued federal aid to keep Arizonan families and businesses afloat.”

Members of the task force include Vice President of Tucson Medical Center Julia Strange, State Representative Dr. Randy Friese, Associate Professor & Program Director, Public Health Policy & Management, Dr. Joe Gerald, Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Francesco Garcia, Chiricahua Community Health Centers Director Dr. Jonathan Melk, Cochise County Health Department Director Carrie Langley, Copper Queen Hospital CEO Robert Seamon, El Rio CEO Nancy Johnson, Cochise County Epidemiologist Martha Montano, Southern Arizona Veterans Hospital Director Jennifer Gutowski, Tucson Metro Chamber Director Amber Smith, Local First Arizona Director Michael Peel, Pima Council on Aging Director Mark Clark, Southern Arizona Leadership Council CEO Ted Maxwell, and Tucson Mayor Romero’s Chief of Staff, Elaine Becherer.

Task force member biographies are available upon request.

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