A Continuity Response Team (CRT) has been established by the Maricopa County Community Colleges District (MCCCD) to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The CRT’s main function is to ensure the well-being and safety of the Maricopa community and establish protocols to identify and quickly respond to potentially dangerous illnesses,” MCCCD public relations manager Dasi Danzig said in an email.
The CRT is in daily communication with the Maricopa Department of Public Health, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On Tuesday, March 11, Gov. Doug Ducey declared a public health emergency during a press conference at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory in Phoenix, according to AZ Central. Testing for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, has been made available at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory. This testing was previously only available by the CDC.
“While our state is not currently facing the number of cases we’ve seen in some other states,” said Ducey during the press conference, “we are anticipating additional positive cases–and we’re not taking any chances.”
Ducey said Arizonans should not panic and explained the Governor’s Executive High Order regarding COVID- 19. It waives all copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for consumers related to COVID-19 and prohibits price-gouging on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment services, according to a news release by the Office of the Governor.
The district and all ten colleges including Mesa Community College are preparing for these measures with the CRT, according to Danzig.
“We are acting in accordance with State and County Public Health Officials if we feel we may have a student or employee with 2019 novel coronavirus,” said Danzig. “Local and state public health staff will determine if the patient meets the criteria for a Person Under Investigation for 2019 novel coronavirus.”
In the meantime, the CRT has amassed COVID-19 information and recommendations to assist college leaders, managers, and supervisors.
“The Maricopa County Community College District takes this very seriously,” said Danzig. “We are continuing to monitor the outbreak closely.”