Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Your Southern AZ Coronavirus AM Update: State's Confirmed Cases Rise to 2,726; 80 Now Dead After Contracting Bug; Ducey's New Exec Orders

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2020 at 9:03 AM

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona had reached 2,726 as of Wednesday, April 8, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had seen 464 of the state’s confirmed cases.

The coronavirus had killed 80 people statewide, including 15 in Pima County, according to the state and county health departments.

In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 1,559.

The state remains under Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order that has closed a wide number of “non-essential” businesses, including many retail 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.

Ducey announced four new executive orders yesterday:

• Visitors from areas with major community spread of COVID-19 must enter quarantine for two weeks if they come to Arizona.

• Restaurants can sell more of their bulk goods and supplies as groceries.

• Staff at nursing homes and similar facilities will have to wear personal protective equipment and institute symptom checks for anyone entering the building. In addition, residents must be provided with a video device to communicate with the outside world.

• Hospitals and healthcare workers must start tracking data related to COVID-19 such as available hospital beds, the number of patients visiting emergency rooms with COVID-19 symptoms and the use of ventilators and personal protective equipment.

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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