Phoenix mayor says city still has "a real challenge with testing" as cases spike

Phoenix mayor: City still has "real challenge with testing"
Phoenix mayor: City still has "real challenge... 04:58

Washington – Amid a spike of coronavirus infections across the Sun Belt and the West, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said her city still faces a "real challenge" with coronavirus testing, echoing the concerns governors on the East Coast raised as their own states battled rising infections earlier in the pandemic.

"It continues to be a very difficult situation in the greater Phoenix area," Gallego said Sunday on "Face the Nation." "We are seeing positivity rates above 20%. We continue to have a real challenge with testing, although there was some very good news this week about additional resources that are coming. We are setting records of the type you don't want to set, for the use of ventilators by COVID patients, acute care beds."

Arizona is one of more than three dozen states that is experiencing a surge of new coronavirus cases, which President Trump has incorrectly attributed to increased testing. Gallego said she requested federal support to ramp up testing in April and was rebuffed at the time because Phoenix did not have "sufficient caseload."

"Now we clearly have sufficient caseload, and I began making the requests again and again," she said, adding the "good news is they did finally decide that they are going to be bringing that federal testing to our community, and it cannot come a moment too soon."

The rise in coronavirus cases has led governors to reimpose restrictions on businesses and issue statewide orders mandating the wearing of masks or face coverings in public. Arizona is not one of the states with a mask requirement, though Gallego said "we need one."

"We would love to see additional protections," the Phoenix mayor said, including requiring restaurants to cease dine-in services and offer only takeout. 

Gallego said she would also like to see services such as nail salons be temporarily halted.

"We think that's just not necessary right now while you're seeing such high levels of the virus," she said.

In Arizona, there have been more than 119,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 2,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Across the United States, there have been more than 3.2 million coronavirus cases and 134,000 deaths.