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Coconino County preparing for coronavirus

Coconino County preparing for coronavirus

From the A collection of the Daily Sun's coronavirus coverage series
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Speaking about the virus

Coconino County epidemiologist Matt Maurer speaks about COVID-19 at an NAU campus forum Tuesday. 

As of Friday, seven people in Coconino County are self-monitoring for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as part of the County’s efforts to prepare for the spread of the illness.

All seven individuals have not displayed any symptoms related to COVID-19, but recently returned from travel to areas with widespread transmission of the illness, said county epidemiologist Matt Maurer. Coconino County Health and Human Services (CCHHS) was given these individuals’ information through a federal monitoring system and is assisting with the self-monitoring process. There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Coconino County.

As of Monday, testing for COVID-19 is being conducted at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory, using samples collected by local health care facilities like Flagstaff Medical Center and urgent care centers. The County is encouraging any members of the public with symptoms of a respiratory illness to communicate with their health care providers.

A person will be considered for testing if they have symptoms of respiratory illness and meet one of three requirements: contact with someone who tested positive, traveled to China or other areas experiencing community spread of the virus, or if respiratory testing has not identified a known illness.

“With the current spread of this virus, there is the possibility for an eventual confirmed case in northern Arizona,” CCHHS Chief Health Officer Thomas Pristow said in a statement. “We encourage the public to stay calm and do their best to prevent respiratory illness. The County is also taking steps to prepare for the potential spread of the virus in northern Arizona.”

Presumptive cases of COVID-19 are those testing positive by the state; to be confirmed, the samples must also test positive by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both presumptive and confirmed cases are reported on the Arizona Department of Health Services website, www.azdhs.gov/coronavirus. Of 51 people tested statewide, one has been confirmed positive and two are presumed positive.

Maurer said the risk for COVID-19 in Coconino County remains low and even if there were to be a case, it would not increase the risk.

“We would have to identify multiple cases where we see community transmission to change that risk level,” he said.

For more information, visit www.coconino.az.gov/covid19.

Kaitlin Olson can be reached at the office at kolson@azdailysun.com or by phone at (928) 556-2253. 

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