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Arizona has plans in place in case coronavirus spreads here, Ducey says

(KTAR News Photo/Matt Bertram)

PHOENIX – Even before the first possible case of community-spread coronavirus in the nation was reported this week, Arizona already had a response plan in place.

“We want to be prepared; we are prepared,” Gov. Doug Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

Ducey said he receives daily briefs on the infection that originated in Wuhan, China, and has sickened people in dozens of countries.

Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that someone who lives in Northern California has contracted the disease and they don’t know how. The patient is said to have not been anywhere he or she could have been exposed, or knowingly come into contact with anyone who has been infected.

President Donald Trump said after the announcement that a widespread U.S. outbreak of the new virus wasn’t inevitable, even as top health authorities warned Americans that more infections are coming.

In a worst-case scenario, the state government has the authority to quarantine an infected person, Ducey said.

“We can quarantine individuals and people that won’t cooperate. Public health and public safety is the reason we have a governor and a government,” he said.

A serious situation would spur action and announcements, Ducey added.

In late January, someone affiliated with Arizona State University was diagnosed with the virus. The unidentified man had recently returned from ground zero Wuhan.

He or she was not seriously ill and was isolated in Tempe away from campus. State officials monitored the case. The patient came out of isolation last week.

Symptoms of coronavirus appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

State officials are not panicking, Ducey said.

“We have to be concerned, of course,” he said of the nearness of the most recent case. “[But] we’ve done the exercises to plan ahead.

“We have a Department of Emergency Services, we have a fantastic director, Cara Christ, of Health Services,” he said.

He added there was “a lot of good information” online at the CDC and at the Arizona health website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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