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Arizona GOP chair encourages anti-stay-at-home protesters to dress like health care workers

Washington(CNN) The chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party is encouraging people planning to protest stay-at-home orders imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic to dress like health care workers.

Recently, several health care workers around the country have worn their scrubs and medical gear to counterprotest against people calling for states to reopen against the urgings of medical experts.

Dr. Kelli Ward, a former state senator and primary care physician, tweeted on Friday that people participating in protests to end the government-imposed closures of regular business should wear scrubs and masks.

"Planning protest to #ReOpenAmerica? EVERYONE wear scrubs & masks - the media doesn't care if you are really in healthcare or not - it's the 'message' that matters," she wrote.

Ward's comments come a few days after she questioned the authenticity of a small group of health care workers in Colorado who counterprotested against people calling for the state to reopen.

"EVEN IF these 'spontaneously' appearing ppl at protests against govt overreach (sporting the same outfits, postures, & facial expressions) ARE involved in healthcare - when they appeared at rallies, they were actors playing parts #Propaganda #FakeOutrage," Ward tweeted last week.

CNN has reached out to Ward for comment.

The Arizona Democratic Party slammed Ward's Friday tweet as an attempt to mock health care professionals.

"If anyone's status as a health care professional should be questioned its Dr. Kelli Ward's, considering her unwillingness to promote the advice of health experts. Irresponsible, shameful tweets like this do nothing to help people afflicted with the virus or the health care heroes who are working to save lives," Matt Grodsky, Arizona Democratic Party spokesman, said in a statement Saturday.

To slow the spread of coronavirus, nearly every state implemented stay-at-home orders, closing nonessential businesses. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, put a stay-at-home order in place until April 30. Flouting social distancing guidelines, protests have popped up against stay-ay-home orders at state capitals across the country, including in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas.

CNN spoke with ICU nurse Lauren Leander, who stood in scrubs and silently counter protested at the state capitol, where people gathered to urge Ducey to reopen Arizona.

Leander, a Banner Health nurse of five years, said if given the opportunity she would walk Ward through the ICU at her hospital to the bedside of some of her coronavirus patients to see firsthand the impacts of the virus.

"I wish she could be in my shoes for a day, I'd have her put on a pair of scrubs and walk with me," Leander told CNN.

CNN's Alisha Ebrahimji contributed to this report.