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In global fight vs. virus, over 1.5 billion told: Stay home

Wearing protective equipment a research and development company worker works on the production of coronavirus testing kits in Gebze, northwestern Turkey, Monday, March 23, 2020. RTA laboratories are now producing 500,000 kits per week for export and their tests are being used in 11 countries across Europe, Middle East and Asia. The test takes up to three hours to return results that have "a sensitivity precision of 99.5%," according to the lab's director. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey Tuesday announced a new partnership to secure more masks for health care workers as two new COVID-19 deaths were reported in the state.

The new partnership between the state of Arizona, the BSTRONG Initiative partnering with the Global Empowerment Mission, and the Verstandig Foundation is meant to secure up to 1 million N-95 masks and other equipment for Arizona health care professionals.

The Arizona Department of Health Services posted updated numbers on its website Tuesday morning that indicated two more deaths as a result of the coronavirus update. That brings the number of deaths in Arizona since the outbreak began to five. The new total number of cases listed for the state was 326, up from 235 Monday. Pinal County now has 22 cases, up from 17 reported Monday.

Details of the deaths and new cases was not immediately available.

As part of the partnership, the first 250,000 N-95 masks will be donated by the Verstandig Foundation, with anticipated arrival within 10 days.

“Arizona is proactively seeking innovative and resourceful ways to ensure our medical professionals and first responders have the protection they need,” said Ducey. “For doctors, nurses and other personnel providing testing and care, these protective supplies are critical. I am immensely grateful to Bethenny Frankel and the BSTRONG Initiative and Grant Verstandig for stepping up to help in this way and for their continued partnership to protect public health.”

“Across the country, the need for personal protective equipment is significant,” said Bethenny Frankel, founder of the BSTRONG Initiative. “Through our disaster relief networks, we are working with suppliers throughout the nation to help meet demand and get supplies and resources to the people saving lives. We’re proud to work with Grant Verstandig and the State of Arizona to make this partnership possible.”

Over the weekend, Ducey announced a new shipment of medical supplies for Arizona health care professionals from the Strategic National Stockpile. The shipment includes more than 440,000 personal protective equipment that will be distributed to county health departments to provide to local hospitals and medical professionals as they address the COVID-19 outbreak and treat patients.