Arizona reports COVID-19 increase to 63 cases, but number likely higher

Mar 20, 2020, 9:04 AM | Updated: 3:05 pm

PHOENIX – The number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona increased to 63 as of Friday morning, according to the state health department, but the figure is likely higher.

The Arizona Department of Health Services’ new total did not include all cases previously made public by local authorities, including a batch announced Thursday night in Navajo County. Navajo Nation officials reported 14 positive tests, while the state reported just three in the county.

During a press conference Friday, AZDHS Director Dr. Cara Christ said health officials were working to confirm how many of the Navajo Nation cases were in Arizona. However, the tribe said most of the patients first reported their symptoms in northeastern Arizona’s Kayenta hospital.

Most of Navajo Nation’s territory is in Arizona, but it spans across the Utah and New Mexico borders.

The AZDHS has been updating its coronavirus web page with the number of cases each morning.

The state still had no reported deaths.

More than half of the cases reported by the state, 34, were diagnosed in private labs, which have been expanding their capability to test for the virus.

On Thursday morning, the state reported 44 cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus. A variety of authorities issued reports of additional cases later in the day.

Federal and state officials have said an increased capacity to administer and process tests will result in a sharp increase in the rate of new cases in the coming days, so it’s unclear how much of the increase is due to spread of the virus and how much to the boost in testing.

State health leaders are advising people with mild symptoms to stay home and said not to go to an emergency room unless the situation is an emergency. They said positive tests won’t change treatment for patients in the absence of serious symptoms.

Of the new cases reported by the state Friday, 12 were in Maricopa County, pushing the metro Phoenix total to 34.

Ten cases were listed in Pinal County, eight in Pima, five in Coconino, three in Navajo and one each in Yavapai, Graham and Santa Cruz.

Yuma County reported its first case Friday morning, but it was not reflected in the state update.

In the Phoenix area, 10 patients have required hospitalization, according to the Maricopa County Public Health website.

On Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey announced a series of executive orders, including shutting down bars and dine-in options in counties with confirmed cases, designed to slow the spread of the virus.

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Arizona reports COVID-19 increase to 63 cases, but number likely higher