Health director says Arizona monitoring 250 people for coronavirus

Mar 2, 2020, 3:15 PM | Updated: Mar 4, 2020, 1:23 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)...
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — The director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said Monday that the state is monitoring 250 returning travelers for coronavirus.

“We know the disease is spreading and we can expect additional cases in Arizona,” Dr. Cara Christ said during a press conference.

The virus has killed six people in the United States and more than 3,000 worldwide.

Arizona has had one case of COVID-19 since its outbreak at the start of the year. That patient, a member of the Arizona State University community, has since recovered and is no longer infected with the disease.

As of Tuesday morning, 32 Arizonans had been tested for coronavirus, with one positive result and 24 negative. Six lab tests were pending.

The state started in-house, same-day testing for the disease on Monday.

Up to 450 samples can be tested per day, according to a state health department graphic.

Updated numbers about COVID-19 in Arizona will be posted to the health department’s website every day at 9 a.m. moving forward, Christ said.

Symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to that of the flu.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

Gov. Doug Ducey, who also briefly spoke at the press conference, said the state remains in good position to handle an outbreak.

Ducey said he was briefed about coronavirus Monday morning by Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading the administration’s response to the disease.

“Arizona is in good hands and I’m confident in this team’s ability to manage this situation,” Ducey said.

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Health director says Arizona monitoring 250 people for coronavirus