TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – The Pima County Health Department announced Monday, March 9, a resident tested positive for the coronavirus and has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The PCHD said the patient did not get severely ill and is being quarantined in their home.
The PCHD would not give any addition information about the patient other than to say he/she lives in an unincorporated part of the county, which means they do not live in a city or town like Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Vail, Green Valley or Sahuarita.
The patient recently traveled to an area with known community spread of the virus, according to PCHD.
“(We) are investigating any close contacts that may have been exposed while the person was infectious,” the PCHD said in an email. “Any individuals who have been identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly. These individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms in collaboration with PCHD and medical providers.”
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there are only 2 other confirmed cases of coronavirus in all of Arizona.
There are also 3 presumptive positives, which means a person tested positive for the virus but it has not been confirmed.
According to the AZDHS, 56 people have been tested for the virus so far. There are 7 tests pending and 44 tests came back negative. You can check on the state’s coronavirus numbers HERE.
The first confirmed case was announced weeks ago and involved a person connected to Arizona State. That person has recovered.
The three presumptive positives are connected to Pinal County, where a health care worker — a woman in her 40s — tested positive. Two others living in the same home as the woman were diagnosed to have the virus, according to a release from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
These cases could be the state’s first example of community-spread coronavirus.
Last week, the ADHS confirmed people in Pima County were being tested for the virus. There was no word on how many people have been tested or what hospitals are involved, if any.
KOLD News 13 will continue to update and add links to this story throughout the outbreak. Bookmark this page for the newest information available.
State officials said commercial facilitates — like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp — will begin COVID-19 testing. More testing will likely lead to an explosion in the number of confirmed cases in Arizona, but that doesn’t mean the virus is severe.
There are likely many in the community with the coronavirus, but they are not getting tested because their symptoms are mild.
Health authorities across the country are closely watching the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), a respiratory illness caused by a new virus from China.
This new coronavirus is in the same family of viruses that can cause the common cold or more severe illnesses such as SARS.
Although scientists believe it originated with animals, the virus is now spreading from person to person. Most of the reported cases outside of China involved people who recently traveled there.
Fever, cough and shortness of breath are common with coronavirus. In severe cases, patients have pneumonia in both lungs.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for coronavirus. Medical care can help relieve the symptoms.
Protecting yourself and your family
The easiest way to slow the spread of the virus is for everyone to practice basic hygiene:
- Wash your hands frequently (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds)
- Cover your mouth (with a tissue or your sleeve) when you cough.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- If you need to seek medical care, before going to your doctor’s office, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
On Monday, March 9, the Tucson Festival of Books announced it has cancelled this year’s event.
In a Facebook post, the festival’s board of directors said more than 100 authors pulled out of the festival citing coronavirus concerns.
“It is with great sadness that the Board of Directors of the Tucson Festival of Books has chosen to cancel the 2020 Tucson Festival of Books,” the group wrote. “We know the Festival of Books brings much joy to many in our community as well as visitors from around the country. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a situation this year where we are unable to provide a quality festival for several reasons:”
The spread of COVID-19 has had major impacts on travel, universities and more — but now, it’s affecting mass.
“Parishes are to refrain from the use of holy water for the immediate future,” said a worship leader at the St. Augustine Cathedral Church during mass on Sunday. All the holy water has been removed from the church.
It’s just one of the measures Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger is calling for parishes to follow.
Communion is suggested to be changed as well. Holy Communion should be distributed only in the hand for the immediate future.
The bishop of the Diocese of Tucson made the statement last week that these changes should be made in parishes to stop the spread of viruses and illness until further notice. Asking people to stay home if they are sick.
The University of Arizona is adjusting its class absence practices due to the current concern over the spread of the coronavirus.
The changes will go into effect on Monday, March 16 as students return from Spring Break.
Many household disinfectants tout their ability to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.
Lysol and Clorox even mention “human coronavirus” on the back of some of their containers, but do these disinfectants really kill the novel coronavirus?
The risk of getting novel coronavirus in the U.S. remains low, but Tuesday, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official warned that the virus is expected to spread in the U.S.
To avoid catching any virus, practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. Wipe down your work space. Use a tissue when you sneeze or cough and keep your hands away from your face. Also, don’t share water bottles and stay home if you aren’t feeling well.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, so do questions and misinformation.
Officials with the Pima County Health Department is continuing to monitor the virus within the county.
Their office has been flooded with calls this week from many residents wanting to know how to prepare for a pandemic.
“Anything new and unknown is scary,” said Dr. Bob England, interim director of the Pima County Health Department.
Tips for separating fact and fiction can be found HERE.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams urged consumers to stop buying face masks.
Retailers like CVS and Walgreens said they’ve noticed an increase in demand for the masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes, according to CNN.
“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” Adams tweeted. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Operators at 911 centers across southern Arizona are screening calls for possible cases of coronavirus.
ADHS confirmed the state’s first case Sunday, Jan. 26. The following day, experts offered resources and guidelines from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Emergency Medical Services for first responders to limit their exposure to coronavirus.
Before those emergency crews respond to a situation, 911 operators will ask some additional questions to people who mention respiratory issues.
Corona beer is addressing the similarities its name shares with the deadly coronavirus.
Constellation Brands, which brews the lager, said in a statement that customers “understand there is no link between the virus and our business.”
Still, two recent surveys show the brand is suffering from negative buzz around the virus.
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