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2 more Pima County coronavirus deaths; 1st juvenile case reported

Two more Pima County residents have died of COVID-19: a man and a woman, both in their 80s. Each had "medical conditions that may have put them at higher risk for severe illness," officials said Friday.

The first case of a CV-19 patient under age 18 was also reported here, with the number of confirmed cases in the county topping 100.

The two deaths were revealed by an update to a table of cases on the Pima County website.

Officials did not release further details until almost four hours later, and would only describe the two cases who died by their gender and the decade of their age, and that they had unspecified medical conditions. Officials said they are withholding information, as they have in previous cases, "protect the deceased and their families' privacy."

Officials did not provide the dates of death for either individual.

102 Pima County residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus, with 4 deaths here.

"People who are older and those with other medical conditions should take extra precautions to protect themselves," officials said.

Another 157 cases were added to the total count of reported diagnosed patients with CV-19 in the state, officials said Friday morning.

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Thursday, just more than 500 Arizona cases had been reported, with 75 in Pima County. There are now 665 total reported cases in the state, although testing is still very limited and officials warn there are many more undiagnosed cases.

13 people have died in the state from COVID-19, including 4 in Pima County — the latest of those deaths was revealed Friday morning. 5 people have died in Maricopa County. Officials are now saying the virus has reached "widespread transmission" across the state.

"We need to act like every contact we have is a source of infection," county Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia told the Pima County Board of Supervisors on Thursday, telling everyone to reduce their interactions outside their homes as much as possible.

Thursday, it was reported that the second Pima County resident died of COVID-19: a man in his 70s with other health conditions that may have increased his risk. The man died Tuesday night, sources said.

A Pima County official first publicly mentioned that death in oblique terms during a Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday.

The death, previously unannounced, was included in an oral report that Dr. Bob England, director of the Pima County Health Department, gave to the supervisors.

England did not provide details about the patient who died, but county sources indicated that the case was of a man who died Tuesday night.

County officials sent out a news release just after 12:30 p.m., following the publication of this report, but provided little detail about the case. The did not indicate why the public announcement of the death was delayed, and did not include the date the man died in their brief news release.

Noting that "to protect this person and their family's privacy the Health Department will only provide the following information," officials said that "This person was a male in his 70s with other health conditions that may have put him at higher risk."

"It is an upsetting reality that we will continue to see the number of cases and, sadly deaths, continue as we confront this outbreak,” said Paula Mandel, deputy director of the Health Department, said in the release. "Please remember, we all have a role to play in protecting people who are at high risk for severe outcomes, protecting our healthcare system from being overrun, and protecting ourselves to keep those around us safe."

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'Act like every contact we have is a source of infection'

"We need to act like every contact we have is a source of infection," county Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia told the Board of Supervisors on Thursday, telling everyone to reduce their interactions outside their homes as much as possible.

A woman in her 50s with "underlying health conditions" was the first person in Pima County to die due to COVID-19, officials said Monday evening.

Officials did not publicly provide further details about the case, including when the woman died. But separate medical and government sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the woman died Monday morning at a Tucson hospital.

The rate of reported spread slowed somewhat, but recorded cases still continued to climb. Diagnosed cases had been increasing by 50 percent day after day, but the figures released Wednesday and Thursday mornings were about 25 percent larger than the previous day's total.

The total number of tests being run on Arizona patients is still not known to the press or public.

Friday, the number of reported confirmed positive cases reached 665 in the state. Thursday morning, state officials reported that 508 patients in Arizona had tested positive for the disease. Wednesday morning, 401 Arizona residents were reported as positive. Tuesday, there were 326 reported cases, with 235 on Monday. Sunday, that figure was 152.

State officials have been releasing daily data summaries just after 9 a.m. each day. County information generally comes later in the day.

A majority of cases in Pima and Maricopa counties are younger than 60.

102 Pima County residents have now been reported as diagnosed.

Of those reported by Friday, 52 are men and 50 women, with 25 older than 65. 35 are ages 41-65, with 36 adults between the ages of 18 and 40. 1 is younger than 18.

Officials said they didn't know the ages of five of the Pima cases.

Wednesday morning, Pima officials removed the number of people hospitalized and in ICU from their online dashboard.

Limited data on limited tests

Health officials have repeatedly said that the number of reported cases is just a fraction of the number of Arizonans who are carrying COVID-19. With limited testing capacity still, only the sickest people with known possible coronavirus contacts have been being tested.

Many people carry the virus without developing symptoms for days, but still spread it to others they come in contact with — which is why doctors and public health experts repeatedly emphasize that people should remain at home as much as possible to help contain the outbreak.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Medical professionals work in a drive-thru lane for the COVID-19 virus testing at Banner University Medical Center on Wednesday.

Stay home.

From the Pima County Health Department:

If you are sick – stay home. Most people, even those who have COVID-19, have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider and contact them if your symptoms become more severe.

If you are well – protect yourself. Wash your hands often, especially after being in and touching things in public spaces, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.