This is a breaking story and may be updated.
Nine people have now tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus in Arizona, according to the latest stats on the Arizona Department of Health Services' website. The stats were updated on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. and show that since Tuesday, an additional 26 people have been tested for the virus, while three more cases have come back positive.
One of the new cases is in Maricopa County while the other two are in Pinal County, a spokesperson for the DHS told Phoenix New Times. The two new Pinal County coronavirus cases both come from the same household as the other three presumptive positive cases in Pinal County, county health officials said in a press release.
"Both cases are over sixty years old and from the same household as the three current Pinal County cases. They are recovering at home," a spokesperson for Pinal County Public Health said in a press release, adding that county health officials are continuing to investigate the cases and any close contacts the infected individuals may have had.
The latest presumptive positive case in Maricopa County involves a man in his 90's who is recovering at a hospital and is in stable condition, county health officials said. (A presumptive positive case 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.)
So far, 100 people in Arizona have been tested for the virus. Fifty-nine tests have been ruled out and 32 are still pending. There have been nine confirmed positive cases or presumptive positive cases, according to the DHS website.
The first case of COVID-19 in Arizona was confirmed in late January, when a member of the Arizona State University community who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China, tested positive for the virus. That case has already been resolved: After nearly a month in isolation, the ASU member was cleared of the virus following multiple negative tests from the CDC and was released.
On March 3, DHS identified a second positive case involving a man in his 20s. That patient was transported to HonorHealth's Scottsdale Osborn location; however, he has since returned home and is in isolation. The man contracted the virus after coming into contact with another presumptive positive patient outside of Arizona, health officials said.
Then, on March 6, a Pinal County health care worker in her 40s was hospitalized after testing positive for the virus. The case represents the first instance of community spread in Arizona, meaning the source of the infection is unknown — the woman had not come into close contact with anyone known to be infected with COVID-19 and had not traveled to an affected area like Wuhan.
One day after that, DHS announced that two more people had tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total from three to five. Those two people are the son and husband of the infected health care worker and share a household with her.
The son is a student at the American Leadership Academy in Queen Creek. The DHS said the boy did not visit the campus while ill, is not seriously ill, and has fully recovered. The school is still taking precautionary measures to clean the campus while students are away for spring break this week and set up sanitation stations throughout the school.
On March 9, a sixth positive COVID-19 case in Arizona was identified by Pima County health officials. 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.
Now, two people over the age of 60 who also reside in the same household as the infected health care worker have tested positive for COVID-19. That makes five of Arizona's nine cases all originating from the same household.
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.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.