Thursday, March 26, 2020

Your Southern AZ Coronavirus PM Update: AZ Confirmed Cases Rise to 508, Second Death in Pima County, Severe Shortages of Protective Gear for Healthcare Workers & More

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 5:24 PM

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Here are the stories we've been following today at the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread across Arizona:

• Confirmed cases of COVID-19 grew to 508 today, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. A second person, a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions, has died in Pima County. The first victim was a woman in her mid-50s with underlying health conditions.

• Pima County is desperately short of personal protective gear for healthcare workers as COVID-19 hits "widespread transmission" status in Arizona.

• The Pima County Board of Supervisors has extended closures of bars, restaurants and gyms until April 10. Restaurants remain open for delivery and takeout only.

• Silver Sea jewelry shop on Fourth Avenue is now operating as a pet-food pantry for those who may need help feeding their dogs and cats.

• The UA is offering rebates on dorm and meal plans.

• The United Way for Southern Arizona has launched a COVID-19 fund.

• The Pima County Public Libraries have some cures for the cabin-fever blues.


Health and government officials continue to urge the public to avoid unnecessary trips and gatherings of more than 10 people. They warn that the extremely contagious virus is rapidly spreading in the community. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear, so people can pass COVID-19 without realizing they have been infected with it. Some people remain entirely asymptotic but are carriers.

Arizona's schools remain closed at least through April 10. Here's a list of places where school districts are providing free meals for kids. And here's a list of some educational resources that parents can turn to while their kids are at home.

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 parital list of restaurants that are offering take-out and delivery services.

The closures and recommendations to avoid shopping and commerce have hammered the local economy. Small businesses are teetering on the edge and layoffs are skyrocketing. If you need assistance finding a job, here are some resources. If you need help stocking your kitchen, you can find food banks and pantries here.

Courts have rescheduled most hearings to avoid spreading the virus and the release of some nonviolent offenders from Pima County Jail is in the works.

In the face of the spreading virus, Gov. Doug Ducey halted to evictions for 120 days; 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; loosened regulations to make telemedicine more available and increase eligibility for AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program; and activated the National Guard to assist in grocery stores as Arizonans clear the shelves.

COVID-19 symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure, and include headache, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. 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.

Have you caught COVID-19? Are you feeling ill? Is your small business struggling to make it? Have you lost your job as a result of the outbreak? Are you struggling to manage your kids while schools are closed? Tell us your COVID-19 stories. Send an email or photo to tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com.

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