Arizona Health Officials Identify 'Presumptive Positive' Coronavirus Case

The 2019 novel coronavirus.
The 2019 novel coronavirus. CDC
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread globally, the Arizona Department of Health Services says one new person in Arizona has tested positive by a public health lab.

The case is a "presumptive positive," meaning while the public health lab test came back positive, it is still pending confirmatory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A county health official said experts know when and where the person was exposed, and the case does not represent "community spread."

So far, 32 people in Arizona have been tested for the virus. Twenty-four cases have been ruled out and six are still pending. The new case makes two known positive cases in Arizona, though one has already been resolved.

The previous positive case involved a member of the Arizona State University community. Prior to the man's infection, the individual, a male in his 20s, had traveled from Wuhan, China, where the viral outbreak began. He had a mild case, did not live in university housing, and was never hospitalized. After nearly a month in isolation, he was cleared of the virus after multiple negative tests from the CDC and was released.

The new presumptive positive case is also travel-related, according to the ADHS website. The case was added to the DHS's website tracking COVID-19 cases in Arizona on Tuesday morning. States report presumptive positive cases independently and have the most up-to-date case counts.

Asked for details about the case, like where the person who tested positive is from, whether the person is currently in isolation, and whether Maricopa County Public Health officials are following up with people with whom the individual may have come into contact, a spokesperson deferred to Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of disease control for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Sunenshine was not immediately available. (This story will be updated with information from Sunenshine later today).

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."

“With the case counts increasing around the country, it is no surprise that we have another case here in Maricopa County,” Sunenshine said in the press release. “The good news is that this individual is in stable condition and is expected to have a full recovery, as are most people who become infected with this disease."

After receiving the presumptive positive, public health officials interviewed close contacts of the case and recommended that they monitor themselves for symptoms and quarantine themselves for 14 days based on the risk of exposure.

“As far as risk to the public, we are still doing the case investigation of this individual, however, because we know when and where this individual was exposed, this does not represent community spread,” Sunenshine said.
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Meg O'Connor was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times from April 2019 to April 2020.