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20 deaths, 1,157 Arizonans reported with CV-19; 6 dead in Pima County

More than 1,100 Arizonans have recorded positive tests for COVID-19. 20 have died, including 6 Pima County residents, where about 190 have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

With more data being released about private commercial labs, we have a better picture of the coronavirus testing being done in Arizona: about 16,800 have been tested statewide. Of those, about 2,500 patients in Pima County have been tested.

The outbreak has grown on the Navajo Nation, which has instituted a nighttime curfew and "Stay at Home" order. There are 115 reported cases there, with 2 deaths.

The latest death of a Pima County resident was announced Sunday. County health authorities would only disclose that the patient as "a male between the ages of 41 and 65 with underlying conditions that made him at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19."

Another Pima death was announced Saturday. "To protect the privacy of the deceased and his family," officials would only say the fatal confirmed case was a man who was "a hospice patient between the age of 18 and 40."

Another 238 cases were added to the total count of reported diagnosed patients with CV-19 in the state, officials said Monday morning.

Sunday, 919 cases had been reported, with 147 in Pima County.

Saturday, there were 773 cases, with 120 here.

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Friday, 665 Arizona cases had been reported, with 102 Pima cases.

Thursday, just more than 500 Arizona cases had been reported, with 75 in Pima County.

20 people have died in the state from COVID-19, including 6 in Pima County — the latest of those deaths was announced Sunday morning. 5 people have died in Maricopa County. Officials have said 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.

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 each morning late last week were about 25 percent larger than the previous day's total.

Monday's reported total was about 25 percent larger, but officials have repeatedly said that there are limits and shortages in testing, and that many presumed positive cases are being instructed to self-isolate and are not being included in the reported count of confirmed cases.

The total number of tests being run on Arizona patients is finally known: 16,759 were reported on Monday morning.

Previously, negative results from commercial labs had not been reported to the press or public. Only positive tests had been disclosed, despite those commercial labs running the vast majority of the tests — one recent day, the State Public Health Laboratory reported running tests for just 2 patients in the state.

Saturday morning, state officials reported that 773 patients in Arizona had tested positive for the disease. Friday morning, state officials reported that 665 patients in Arizona had tested positive. Thursday morning, 508 cases were reported here. Wednesday morning, 401 Arizona residents were reported as positive. Tuesday, there were 326 reported cases, with 235 on Monday. Last 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.

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

115 recorded positive patients live on the Navajo Nation. Those positive reported cases are now being included in the daily tallies released by the Arizona Department of Health Services, officials have said, but there is an apparent lag in the data being updated. The number of cases reported by the state in Navajo and Apache counties often lags the reports from the tribe, as it did on Saturday.

That means the number of total tested and confirmed cases in Arizona being reported by state authorities is not always the most recent actual total.

The entire Navajo reservation has been placed on lockdown by tribal leaders, as has the landlocked Hopi Reservation within the Navajo Nation.

The outbreak has reached all of Arizona's 15 counties. The largest group of cases has been reported in Maricopa County: 690 patients there have been diagnosed.

"Given widespread transmission, all Arizonans should expect that COVID-19 is circulating in their community," said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, on Thursday. "COVID-19 is a serious disease that is highly contagious and can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. Protecting those at highest risk of complications and ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared to deal with a surge in cases is our highest priority. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect themselves and their family from this disease."

187 Pima County residents have now been diagnosed.

Of those reported by Saturday night, 69 are men and 78 women, with 32 older than 65. 56 are ages 41-65, with 53 adults between the ages of 18 and 40. 1 is younger than 18.

Officials said they didn't know the ages of 5 of the Pima cases.

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

A majority of patients with reported positive tests in Pima and Maricopa counties are under retirement age, with fewer than 25 percent here older than 65, and 32 percent in Maricopa over age 60. The counties are not using the same age ranges when releasing data, so direct comparisons are not possible.

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.

Most of those cases have been diagnosed with tests at private commercial laboratories — 719 of the total positive tests reported by Friday had been at private labs, with 54 positives determined at the Arizona state lab.

Private commercial labs have not been previously required to report the total number of tests they are performing, only the positive cases. That has changed this week, with Gov. Doug Ducey ordering that all tests be reported to state health officials, and data finally being released about a week later.

Monday, officials said that 1,096 of the total positive tests had been done at private commercial labs, with 61 done at the state health lab.

Officials are no longer providing a breakdown of how many total tests are being run at the state lab, and are instead providing only a total of all testing: 16,759 reported total tests on Arizona patients. Sunday, based on numbers from Saturday evening, officials reported about 13,000 tests had been run.

Thursday, 456 of the total positive tests had been at private labs, with 52 positives reported by the state lab.

Wednesday, 357 of the total positive tests had been at private labs, with 44 positives reported by the state lab.

Cases up 25% overnight

The number of known cases grew overnight, up from 919, as more tests are being run even though they are still limited. There are now 1,157 total cases reported by Arizona officials.

Friday, reported cases grew from 508 to 665.

Thursday, reported cases grew from 401 to 508.

Wednesday, reported cases increased to 401, up from 326.

The number of diagnosed cases had previously been increasing by roughly 50 percent each day. Monday, there were 235 reported patients. Sunday, there were 152 cases in the state.

March 19, Arizona officials had tallied 44 cases, with a jump to 79 on Friday and 104 cases by Saturday.

Just 432 people in total had been tested by the Arizona Public Health Laboratory by Friday, up from 420 on Thursday, while private labs coming online have not been reporting the total number of tests to state officials. State officials adjusted the number downward by 54 on Tuesday, because those samples had been deemed inadequate to test, because they were too small, vials were broken, improper holding temperatures, they were determined not to need testing, or other reasons.

On Monday, the state lab reported it had tested 356 people since the beginning of the outbreak.

Back on last Sunday, just 183 people had been tested, with 12 positive cases and 50 pending tests.

'Serious disease'

"COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions," ADHS Director Cara Christ said earlier "We expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, and there could be more deaths. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect you and your family from this disease."

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The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. For people with mild illness, individuals are asked to stay home, drink plenty of fluids and get rest. For people with more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, individuals are advised to seek healthcare.

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