Coronavirus triggering increased anxiety among Valley residents

Mar 12, 2020, 4:45 AM

(Laurie Miller via AP)...

(Laurie Miller via AP)

(Laurie Miller via AP)

PHOENIX — As confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise in Arizona, some Valley residents are suffering from increased levels of anxiety.

Phoenix-based clinical psychologist Melissa Estavillo told KTAR News 92.3 FM that even patients without prior histories of anxiety are feeling emotionally stressed.

“This one feels different,” she said. “I think I’ve seen a lot more people who are really worried.”

She said patients are concerned this could impact their businesses and children as well as “really get in the way of future travel plans and really disrupt life.”

Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday declared a public health emergency for Arizona as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow.

There have now been nine confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona, according to state health officials.

Estavillo said the increasing number of cases could explain why coronavirus concerns have come up at almost every session she has had in the last few weeks.

“It might not be the main thing that we talk about for the entire session,” she said. “But it somehow plays into whatever concern that they have.”

She added it’s okay to feel concerned as long as “that doesn’t end up spiraling into a larger concern than they potentially need to have.”

She recommended people keep a big picture perspective in mind and to take into account their low risk of getting the coronavirus.

Estavillo also suggested people take steps to help them feel in control of their environment and mitigate some of the risk, such as washing their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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Coronavirus triggering increased anxiety among Valley residents