/ Modified apr 24, 2020 11:56 a.m.

Ducey lifts elective surgery ban starting May 1

The governor says for now, other steps to reopening Arizona economy will be gradual.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is allowing elective surgery to resume at state hospitals, but he is resisting calls to drop his stay-at-home order before it expires on April 30.

Despite the protests outside his office at the state capitol, Ducey is not considering revoking the executive order that closed many state businesses deemed non-essential. Instead, at a Wednesday news conference, the governor said he'll weigh his options next week.

"The first (option) is to let it expire. The second is to extend it in its current form, and the third is to modify it with changes and improvements that reflect the situation on the ground," Ducey said.

But Ducey did relax one restriction related to the coronavirus pandemic. Starting May 1, hospitals may resume elective surgeries, which were halted due to a shortage of masks, gowns, and other protective gear.

"The same healthcare providers that were asking us to stop elective surgery are now coming back and saying please restart it," Ducey said.

Ducey compared the state's economy to a light that's been dimmed. He said resuming surgeries will move the dimmer up a bit, but he's not ready to turn it up to full brightness until testing is available to confirm that it's safe to do so.

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