Public health agencies confirm 2019 Coronavirus case in Maricopa County

People wear masks in Hong Kong in hopes of preventing becoming infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (Chinese News Service photo, cc-by-3.0, https://bit.ly/2UciscH)

Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) announced Sunday, Jan. 26 that a Maricopa County resident has been diagnosed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The confirmed case is in a person who recently returned from travel to Wuhan, China. 

The patient is a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing. This person is not severely ill and is currently in isolation to keep the illness from spreading. MCDPH and ADHS are currently investigating to identify any close contacts that may have been exposed while the person was infectious. Any individuals who have been identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly. These individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms in collaboration with public health and the university. 

2019 Novel Coronavirus 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. Those considered at risk for contracting the virus are individuals who travelled to Wuhan, China, or individuals in close contact with a person infected with the virus. Currently, no commercial testing is available and there is no vaccine. Public health is working with those exposed to get testing by CDC.

“While the immediate risk of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to the general public is believed to be low at this time, ADHS and our county public health partners will continue to actively monitor for the disease,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS director. “There are simple daily precautions that everyone should always take to prevent the spread of diseases.”

Flu and other respiratory diseases are circulating in the community, and public health officials are recommending everyone get a flu shot and follow basic prevention guidelines. The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses are to:

  • 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.

If you have recently traveled to Wuhan, China and have developed fever with cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or have had contact with someone who is suspected to have 2019 Novel Coronavirus, stay home and call your healthcare provider right away. If you do not have a healthcare provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call the emergency room/urgent care center to get instructions before going in.

For the latest information about 2019 Novel Coronavirus, visit the website at azhealth.gov/coronavirus.

Information provided by Arizona Department of Health Services

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