A sixth person has tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus in Arizona, state and local health officials announced on Monday. The latest presumptive positive case is in Pima County.
The patient, who resides in unincorporated Pima County and recently returned from traveling in an area with community spread of the virus, is not severely ill and is currently recovering at home in isolation, county health officials said in a press release.
The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pima County Health Department are investigating any close contacts of the infected person who may have been exposed to the virus. Anyone identified as having been exposed by the DHS and PCHD will be contacted directly and monitored for fever or respiratory symptoms.
“This does not change Pima County’s approach as discussed in the press conference earlier today. We have been preparing for this for several weeks. We are not recommending closing schools or canceling events,” Pima County Health Director Dr. Bob England said. “We know that most people who have gotten COVID-19 have mild symptoms and we ask that you stay home if you are sick. Those most at risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19 are older adults and those with existing chronic health conditions.”
Over the weekend, the DHS announced that two more people had tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total from three to five. Those two people share a household with a health care worker in her 40s who was hospitalized after testing positive for the virus on Friday, becoming the third person believed to have coronavirus in the state.
State health officials said they are still investigating how the woman was exposed to the virus and that it could be the first possible case of community spread, meaning the spread of an illness for which the source of the infection is unknown.
Last Tuesday, DHS confirmed what turned out to be the state's second positive case. Presumptive positive means that while the public health lab test came back positive, it is still pending confirmatory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That patient was transported to HonorHealth's Scottsdale Osborn location; however, he has since returned home and is in isolation.
A press release from the Maricopa County Public Health website states that the case involves "a man in his 20s, [who] is not hospitalized and is recovering at home. This individual is a known contact of a presumed positive case outside of Arizona who had traveled to an area with community spread of COVID-19."
After receiving the presumptive positive individual, public health officials interviewed close contacts of the case and told them to monitor themselves for symptoms and quarantine themselves for 14 days based on the risk of exposure.
Five Scottsdale first responders who transported and evaluated the second person are under isolation protocol, Scottsdale city officials said on Thursday.
The first case, which involved a member of the Arizona State University community who recently had traveled to Wuhan, China, where the viral outbreak began, already has been resolved. After nearly a month in isolation, he was cleared of the virus after multiple negative tests from the CDC and was released.
So far, 56 people in Arizona have been tested for the virus. Forty-four cases have been ruled out and seven are still pending. There have been six confirmed positive cases or presumptive positive cases, according to the DHS website.
COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose, or difficulty breathing. Those at highest risk for contracting the virus have traveled to an area where the virus is spreading, or have come into close contact with a person who is diagnosed as having COVID-19.
The best way to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases is to:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.