Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update: AZ Confirmed Cases Rise To 326; First Death in Pima County

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 9:05 AM

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  • Courtesy Photo
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona jumped from 235 to 326 today, with 18 new cases in Pima County bringing the total here to 42, according to the latest numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The Pima County Health Department yesterday reported the first death due to COVID-19 in Pima County: a woman in her 50s with underlying health conditions.

In Maricopa County, the number on confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped from 139 to 199.

A total of 5 people in Arizona have died after being being infected by COVID-19, a highly infectious virus that is sweeping cities in the United States and across the globe.

The rise in cases corresponds with increased testing for COVID-19 but health officials warn that far more people have likely been exposed to the virus. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear, so people can pass the virus without realizing they have been infected with it. Some people remain entirely asymptotic but are carriers.

Yesterday, Banner Health officials warned against self-medicating to prevent or treat COVID-19 after a couple in their 60s ingested chloroquine phosphate, a chemical used to clean fish tanks. It took less than half an hour for them to need medical aid. The man died and the woman remains in critical condition.

President Donald Trump has hailed chloroquine, which is sometimes used to treat malaria, as a treatment for COVID-19.

“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director, in a prepared statement. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”

As COVID-19 has spread, local and state officials limited restaurants to take-out and delivery services in counties where cases of the virus have been confirmed. Here's a partial list of Tucson-area restaurants offering take-out and delivery services.

In the face of the spreading virus, Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered schools closed through April 10. He has also ordered bars, gyms and theaters to be closed in any county with confirmed COVID-19 cases, halted all elective surgery to keep hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients and activated the National Guard to assist in grocery stores as Arizonans clear the shelves.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure, and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. However, some cases of the virus are entirely asymptomatic. Practices to avoid infection include social distancing (of at least six feet), washing your hands, avoiding unnecessary trips and not touching your face. COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on stainless steel and plastic surfaces up to three days.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, speak with a healthcare provider for medical advice. According to the CDC, people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Stay at home and avoid public transportation, but stay in touch with your doctor. If you do leave your home, wear a facemask and clean your hands often. If you develop more severe symptoms (persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, bluish lips) get medical attention immediately. Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

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