Marana calls off all town-sponsored public events over coronavirus
All town-sponsored public events in Marana are being canceled or delayed for at least the next month, officials said Thursday afternoon, citing ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
"For the safety and well-being of the community," Marana is "implementing proactive precautionary measures, including canceling major events to promote social distancing amidst the coronavirus pandemic," officials said.
Town officials said they did not have any further information than has already been released by Pima County officials, but that they are taking "health and safety precautions based on the guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
The affected events are:
"Based on CDC recommendations, social distancing, which is the avoiding of unnecessary close interactions, can reduce community spread and protect vulnerable at-risk populations," Marana officials said.
Marana Town Council meetings and Planning Commission meetings will still occur as scheduled.
All three state universities — UA, ASU and NAU — have delayed classes and are moving to online courses because of COVID-19.
Related: Arizona declares public health emergency over coronavirus
The University of Arizona announced Thursday night that it will delay the start of classes after spring break, and move to online instruction.
Wednesday afternoon, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared a "public health emergency" prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, allowing the state to request federal funds and deal with medical price-gouging.
At least nine people have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in Arizona, officials said Wednesday, with 32 more tests pending.
Related: University of Arizona to cancel in-person classes due to coronavirus
Two Pinal County cases were added to the tally on Wednesday, following Monday's announcement that there was a case in Pima County.
"While our state is not currently facing the number of cases we've seen in some other states, we are anticipating additional positive cases — and we're not taking any chances," Ducey said in announcing his emergency declaration. "Arizonans should not panic — our approach will be calm and steady."
Ducey also ordered insurance companies to cover out-of-network providers and cover 100 percent of the cost for coronavirus care. He also announced that nursing homes and elder care facilities will begin implementing new visitor policies and enhanced symptom checks for staff members and visitors.
Ducey and Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, speaking at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, downplayed suggestions that large gatherings be banned.
"At this time we are not recommending canceling mass gatherings in Arizona," Christ said. "So we are working right now with the CDC on brand-new community mitigation guidance that they just put out and we are not at a point where we would recommend those type of things, but we are constantly evaluating to see if those measures do take sense, but at this time we're not."
Tests still limited
Christ said that state health authorities have a limited number of testing kits available.
Related: ASU cancels classes, public events over coronavirus
"I understand and my numbers may be a little but outdated, we had enough to run 225 samples, we have not reached that capacity and we are expecting if we haven't already gotten another test kit in for another 150," she said Wednesday.
Tests are being limited because of the small supply, Ducey and Christ said, despite President Trump's statement earlier this week that anyone who wants a test can get it.
"If you're symptomatic and you're in a position where you're part of the vulnerable population, that's where you would qualify for the test," the governor said.
Christ said that some patients require multiple test kits. "It's hard to determine how many patients that is because there's so many different factors that play a role in how many samples are getting utilized for each patient," she said.
Monday, Dr. Bob England, interim director of the Pima County Health Department, told TucsonSentinel.com that at least eight control tests are required for each individual who is tested.
Single positive Pima County test
One Pima County resident has been "presumptively" diagnosed with COVID-19, officials said Monday afternoon. The patient, who had recently traveled to an area with "community spread," is "not severely ill" and is recovering at home.
"The patient is a resident of unincorporated Pima County. This individual is not severely ill, is currently recovering at home in isolation, and has been fully cooperative with public health monitoring," officials said.
Ducey's declaration "doesn't currently affect the County Health Department's response to the outbreak," county Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia said Wednesday. "The emphasis on encouraging more telemedicine and the order requiring visitation restrictions at nursing homes and long-term care facilities are very positive actions by the governor and the county fully supports them."
As of Thursday morning, 115 people in Arizona have been tested for COVID-19 — the novel coronavirus that was first diagnosed in people late last year — with the two confirmed positive cases and seven "presumptive positive" cases the only ones in the state. Another 24 tests were pending results, and 82 people have been ruled out, officials said.