Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Your Southern AZ Coronavirus AM Update for Tuesday, April 7: State Cases Rise to 2,575; 73 Now Dead in AZ

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2020 at 9:07 AM

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona had reached 2,575 as of Tuesday, April 7, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had 415 of the state’s confirmed cases.

The coronavirus had killed 73 people statewide, including 13 in Pima County, according to the Pima County Health Department.

In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 1,495.

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The state remains under Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order that has closed a wide number of “non-essential” businesses, including many retails stores, barbershops, salons, and swap-meets. Public parks remain open but amenities such as playgrounds and restrooms are closed.

Under the stay-at-home order, Arizonans are still able to shop for groceries, medical and household needs, and pet supplies. They can also go work, pick up a take-out meal from a restaurant, travel to take care of a family member, friend or pet, and can still go walking, hiking, biking and golfing, provided that they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Gov. Doug Ducey yesterday issued an executive order halting evictions for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Ducey announced a halt on evictions for residential renters on March 24.

The executive order encourages landlords to defer rent payments for small businesses facing economic hardship amid COVID-19 and suggests waiving all fees and interest from late payments.

“This order helps ensure no small business or nonprofit will face eviction due to COVID-19 and that landlords and small businesses work in partnership to make sure we get through this emergency together," Ducey said in a prepared statement. "There’s more work to do to ensure Arizona’s small businesses can make it through this public health emergency. As we continue to prioritize public health, we will continue to do everything in our power to support those in our small business and nonprofit communities serving us.”

Health care workers remain desperately short of personal protective gear across the state, but Gov. Doug Ducey announced that Honeywell had agreed to produce more than 6 million N95 masks for the state. Honeywell had announced last week that it would produce the masks at its Phoenix manufacturing plant.

Because COVID-19 symptoms can take as long as two weeks to appear after exposure to the virus (and some people can remain entirely asymptomatic), health officials say community spread of the disease is far worse than the official numbers suggest. They have urged the public to avoid unnecessary trips and gatherings of more than 10 people. Last week, the CDC began advising people to cover their faces in masks in public.

With schools now closed through the end of the academic year, teachers have transitioned to online learning and districts across the region are delivering lunch and breakfast meals to kids via school buses or setting up central locations.

In the face of the spreading virus, Ducey has also halted residential, business and nonprofit evictions; 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.

Courts have rescheduled most hearings to avoid spreading the virus.

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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