PHOENIX (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to Arizona Wednesday as the state sees skyrocketing coronavirus infections and hospitals prepare for a surge in patients.
Pence is scheduled to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey after landing in the late morning at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Pence and Ducey will then answer questions from reporters.
Pence has no public events on his schedule, which has him on the ground in Phoenix for only about 2 1/2 hours before he returns to Washington.
The hastily arranged Phoenix trip is a replacement for canceled events that were supposed to happen on Tuesday. Pence had planned to address a “Faith in America” campaign event in Tucson and to meet with Ducey in Yuma.
His visit comes as Arizona broke records Wednesday in newly reported COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and deaths. State health officials reported 4,878 new confirmed cases — the first time the daily figure has surpassed 4,000.
Other alarming new highs included 2,876 hospitalizations and 1,289 ER visits for positive or suspected virus infections. The number of reported deaths in a day also hit a new record of 88, but that may include health officials reviewing death certificates for links to COVID-19.
The new data brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona to 84,092 and the total number of related deaths to 1,720.
Worldwide, the number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported numbers because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
In a bid to curb the virus' spread, Ducey ordered gyms and movie theaters to close for 30 days. He also postponed the start of school until mid-August.
River tubing businesses have also closed after images over the weekend showed large numbers of tubers on the Salt River without masks. On Wednesday, regulators suspended the liquor licenses for a café and a rooftop beach club in a in Phoenix after the gym disobeyed Ducey’s order to shut down. L
Another chain of gyms also has defied the governor’s order, leading police to cite several of its locations for being open on Tuesday.