Pima County health director gets COVID-19 amid department outbreak

Dec 16, 2020, 11:29 AM
Pima County Health Department Dr. Theresa Cullen (Pima County Photo)...
Pima County Health Department Dr. Theresa Cullen (Pima County Photo)
(Pima County Photo)

PHOENIX — Pima County said Wednesday that its health department is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, with the Tucson-area agency’s leader among those infected.

Dr. Theresa Cullen, director of the Pima County Health Department, tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday, the county said in a press release.

The county said the health department outbreak involves 11 employees.

“This just goes to prove that when there is substantial community spread of the virus like we’re experiencing now throughout the county, the virus can get into your homes and places of work any number of ways no matter how vigilant you are being with your precautions,” Dr. Francisco Garcia, the county’s chief medical officer, said in the release.

The county said it is offering testing to all staff who work at the health department’s headquarters.

Employees are being moved to other locations or working from home while the affected parts of the building are sanitized, according to the release.

“The effects of this outbreak at the health department will be a significant challenge, but it is one we are able to handle,” Garcia said.

“We have redundant capacity in staffing and facilities, and this will not affect our ability to continue to our mission protecting public health or the health department’s vital role in the struggle to control and end the spread of COVID-19 in Pima County.”

A county administrator reported this week that 300 employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since February, more than 60 of them in the past two weeks, according to the release.

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Pima County health director gets COVID-19 amid department outbreak