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Office of Communications

Posted on: March 6, 2020

Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified in Pinal County

Covid

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NEWS RELEASE 

For Immediate Release
Live stream available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuOFMXm8A1k or https://www.facebook.com/maricopacountyaz/

Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified in Pinal County
The case may signal community spread in Arizona

FLORENCE, ARIZ. (March 6, 2020) – Pinal County Public Health Department confirmed a presumptive positive case of COVID-19, bringing the total COVID-19 case count in Arizona to three. The case, a healthcare worker in her 40s, lives in Pinal County and is currently in stable condition in a Maricopa County hospital. She is not a known contact of any confirmed COVID-19 cases and has not traveled to any areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely. For this reason, Public Health is treating this case as its first instance of community spread.

“Community spread refers to the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. Just like during flu season, if you get symptoms, you need to stay home and take care of yourself,” said Dr. Shauna McIsaac, director of Pinal County Public Health Department. “Similar to the flu, most people will only have mild symptoms that do not require a visit to a healthcare provider or hospital. Individuals who are older or have underlying health conditions like chronic lung disease are at higher risk of more severe illness. Occasionally, a young, healthy person will have severe disease. Unfortunately, this woman is one of those people,” she added.

“We are moving into a public health strategy that is just like seasonal flu. We know that healthcare workers are exposed to people with flu and other infectious diseases all the time and therefore are at higher risk, which is why they wear personal protective equipment,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Now that there is community spread of COVID-19, just like during flu season, it is important for everyone, especially healthcare workers, to stay home when they are sick to avoid exposing others. “We are no longer recommending quarantine of exposed healthcare workers who don’t show any symptoms because we need our healthcare workforce during this response,” Dr. Sunenshine added.

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The vast majority of people with the disease have mild symptoms and will not require medical intervention.

COVID-19 is believed to spread mostly through respiratory droplets produced when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment, but treatments are being studied and a vaccine is currently under development. Individuals with COVID-19 should be provided with supportive care including fluids or fever-reducing medication.

Since receiving the presumptive positive test result, Pinal County and Maricopa County have been working together to interview close contacts of the case and recommend symptom monitoring.

Overall recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases spread through respiratory droplets are:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces like door knobs, light switches, and electronic devices using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Public health encourages concerned individuals to follow credible sites for information about COVID-19. For up-to-date facts, please visit www.pinal.gov/publichealth and http://www.Maricopa.gov/Coronavirus. For statewide case counts and information about testing at the Arizona State Public Health Lab, please visit www.azhealth.gov/COVID-19.


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