Governor Ducey Shares Latest On COVID-19

News Release

December 16, 2020

Governor Announces Health Care Workers Receiving Vaccine Today, Arizona Distributes Additional Funding To Help Replenish Public Health Emergency Fund

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Doug Ducey today toured the vaccine distribution site at the Arizona State Fairgrounds and announced ten Arizona health care frontline workers who will be among the first Arizonans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

After the tour, the Governor also announced the state is distributing $15 million in additional funding to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) for health emergency needs. The funding will be used to help replenish the public health emergency fund.

“The vaccine is here, and we’re getting it to health care workers promptly,” said Governor Ducey. “This is a significant step in the fight against COVID-19 — but the fight isn’t over. We continue to urge Arizonans to follow mitigation measures and get the COVID-19 vaccine when possible. I’m grateful to the frontline workers, health care professionals and everyone working hard to get the vaccine distributed quickly and efficiently.”

Details on the Arizona health care workers, including ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ, who are among the first to receive the vaccine this evening:

Regina Villa, Registered Nurse 

  • Has worked at Valleywise for 17 years

  • Nurse manager of one of the COVID units and frequently provides bedside care to COVID-19 patients

  • Earned Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Grand Canyon University and is currently working on her Master’s Degree

  • Graduated from Maryvale High School


Olubunmi Onadeko, Certified Nursing Assistant

  • Works as a Caregiver for Sparrow Staffing Services 

  • Block-4 nursing student

  • Member of the Black Nurses Association
     

Eddy de la Torre, Registered Nurse 

  • Completed a concurrent enrollment program receiving an Associate Degree in Nursing from Phoenix College and Baccalaureate in the Science of Nursing from Northern Arizona University

  • Works at Banner University Medical Center 
     

Allison McCabe, Registered Nurse at Skilled Nursing Facility

  • Works on the COVID-19/COVID-19 quarantine unit at Wellsprings Therapy Center 

  • Earned Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from Mohave Community College in 2019 

  • Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Arizona State University 

 

Will Smith, Arizona National Guard Medic

  • Has served in the Arizona National Guard for five years and was deployed to Iraq from April 2019 to January 2020

  • Part of the Guard’s TF MED and testing team and has served on testing missions across Arizona, including on Native American Reservations

  • He is estimated to have conducted more than 1,000 COVID-19 tests

  • Works as a Patient Care Technician at Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center 

  • Working on his Paramedics license

 

Captain Jeff Stieber, Mesa Fire Department

  • 27-year veteran of the Mesa Fire Medical Department

  • Spent 20 years as a National Registry Certified Emergency Paramedic 

  • Has been a Mesa Fire Immunization team member for the past 15 years

  • Has been involved with vaccinating thousands of children at Mesa Public Schools as well as free monthly immunization clinics 

  • Involved with the City of Mesa COVID-19 testing program, where City of Mesa employees are tested for the virus 

 

Captain Kenny Overton, Phoenix Fire

  • 15-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department

  • Earned Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Arizona State University in 2003 prior to beginning his career with the Phoenix Fire Department

  • Has been a paramedic since 2008 and is also one of the department’s trained vaccinators

 

Dr. Ross Goldberg, Valleywise Health Surgeon

  • Board-Certified General Surgeon who covers both elective and emergent General Surgery issues at Valleywise

  • President of Arizona Medical Association

  • District Medical Group Vice-Chair of Surgery at Valleywise 

 

Dr. Edmond Baker, Community Physician 

  • Medical Director for Equality Health 

  • U.S. Army Veteran

  • Heavily involved in the African American community in Phoenix and has experience working with underserved populations


Dr. Cara Christ, Medical Doctor and ADHS Director

  • Oversees and implements the state’s COVID-19 response including testing, vaccine distribution and administration, enforcement, and public health activities

  • Conducts COVID-19 testing clinics for critical infrastructure state employees

  • Provides onsite technical assistance for health care institutions, including COVID-19 needs

  • Provides medical direction and direct patient care at state testing and vaccine sites

The Governor today was joined by ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ and Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs Director Major General Michael T. McGuire. 

During the briefing, the Governor and Dr. Christ urged Arizonans to continue to follow health and safety precautions, especially during the holiday season, to slow the spread of COVID-19. ADHS has information on ways to stay safe and protect loved ones during the holidays at azhealth.gov/winterholidays 

View Arizona’s updated vaccine distribution plan HERE.

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