Arizona confirms first death from coronavirus in state

Mar 20, 2020, 7:24 PM | Updated: Mar 21, 2020, 8:09 am
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PHOENIX — A man in his 50s became the first Arizona resident to die from the coronavirus, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced Friday night.

The man had underlying health conditions, according to the release. His identity was not released as the Maricopa County Department of Public Health notifies those close to him.

In a letter sent from the City of Phoenix Manager, the patient worked for the City of Phoenix Aviation Department.

The letter also states that he worked in a remote office and had minimal interaction with the public at any of the terminals and related airport facilities. The patient’s role in the department is not known.

“We express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends grieving their loved one during this difficult time,” said ADHS director Dr. Cara Christ in a statement. “COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions.”

The state health department reported Friday morning that 63 people had tested positive for COVID-19, an increase of 19 from the morning prior. That number has increased from 27 on Wednesday.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has announced policies in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

He ordered restaurants in counties with confirmed cases to provide takeout options only, while gyms, movie theaters and bars in those areas were to shut down after closing the business on Friday.

Arizona schools have been instructed to remain shut down for two more weeks, which would take them through April 10.

Ducey announced guidelines to make it easier to receive unemployment benefits Friday, and the deadline to file state and federal taxes has been pushed back to July 15.

ADHS urged citizens to continue taking safety and cleanliness measures and warned more deaths are possible.

“We expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, and there could be more deaths,” Christ said. “It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect you and your family from this disease.”

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Arizona confirms first death from coronavirus in state