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Another telecommunication meeting was held Tuesday afternoon as Flagstaff City Council discussed and considered numerous resolutions and agreements, along with a discussion on a potential reentry plan as the state continues to re-open parts of the economy.

Discussion on a potential reentry plan for the city of Flagstaff comes after Governor Doug Ducey's executive order to re-open the state took effect on May 16.

Flagstaff City Manager Greg Clifton started the discussion with a presentation on a multi-phased reentry strategy that follows Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and additional monitoring criteria set out by the city.

According to the presentation detailing the four-phased monitoring criteria, phase one entails city facilities closed to the public and group gatherings suspended. Phase two includes enhanced custodial and sanitation services, phase three recommends facial coverings in public settings and working from home if possible and phase four sees the end of the COVID-19 pandemic with monitoring in place.

Clifton said the city of Flagstaff is currently in phase two as restrictions in phase one still apply, but outdoor parks and amenities are now open.

Epidemiologist and TGen North Co-Director Dr. David Engelthaler joined the discussion along with Deputy City Manager Shannon Anderson as experts to guide the council in the phased reentry plan.

Anderson said the city of Flagstaff is currently following two types of monitoring criteria outlined by the White House, which includes the number of cases and the percentage of positive COVID-19 cases.

"Currently we are looking for a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period as daily cases continue to fluctuate," Anderson said. "In addition, we are also looking for a 14-day continuous decline of the percentage of positive tests, but a county dashboard is not currently available."

Moreover, Anderson said the percentages of positive tests will become impacted by increased testing, especially due to "testing blitzes" the city and county had scheduled in the month of May.

Councilmember Jamie Whelan voiced concerned over the city's proposed types of monitoring criteria as the city looks to return to some form of normalcy with the proposed four-phased reentry plan.

"The more that I participate in our meetings with our colleagues in the county, I've learned that much of the data can be interpreted in different ways," Whelan said. "If we are going to use the criteria outlined by Anderson, I question if the criteria outlined is appropriate to guide our reentry."

Dr. Engelthaler answered Councilmember Whelan's concerns by discussing the importance of data overall trends that are happening in the city of Flagstaff. He said city and health officials should observe these broader trends in addition to looking for a 14-day decline in cases and positive tests.

After a long discussion, the council voted and unanimously adopted the City of Flagstaff Reentry Plan. This will ultimately allow the city to follow a four-phased approach to eventually complete city reentry after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

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