Coconino County reports first death from COVID-19
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Coconino County reports first death from COVID-19

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Drive Through Covid-19 Testing

A nasal swab is taken Wednesday afternoon at a drive-up COVID-19 specimen collection station run by the Coconino County Health Department in the parking lot of Coconino Community College on North Fourth Street. Medical personnel were on hand to take samples from those who had been given testing orders by their doctors.

Coconino County Health and Human Services (CCHHS) confirmed the first COVID-19 related death in Coconino County Tuesday evening, a male in his 50s with underlying health conditions.

The health department is working to identify and contact anyone who may have been in close contact with the decedent. These individuals will be asked to quarantine or isolate as necessary and will be monitored by public health for fever and respiratory symptoms.

To date, there have been 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Coconino County. COVID-19 can be a serious disease, especially in elderly populations and people with underlying health conditions.

“Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time,” Marie Peoples, County Incident Commander and Deputy County Manager, said in a statement. “We share in this family’s grief and are deeply committed to doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our community. We urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and their family including washing their hands frequently, staying home when they are sick and contacting a healthcare provider for medical guidance.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults, pregnant women and people who have underlying medical conditions such as HIV or asthma may be at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

“People have to just be very vigilant,” said county spokesperson Matthew Rudig. “They need to stay home, wash their hands frequently and do whatever they can, especially if they have underlying health conditions, are in one of those vulnerable populations or are around older people.”

As of Monday evening, there were 18 confirmed cases in the county. In a live Facebook video update Tuesday, Supervisor Jim Parks broke the cases down by age: eight individuals in the 40-64 year range, seven who are 65 years and older and three in all other age groups. He also noted nine cases are in Flagstaff, six in Page and the remaining three in other areas of the county.

Sunday, the County announced the first signs of community transmission of COVID-19, which happens when confirmed cases cannot be traced back to an exposure like travel or contact with a known confirmed case.

“With community transmission, we know that it’s just here in our community and it’s in our neighboring communities and across the nation, so people need to assume they have been exposed or that at some point in time they will most likely be exposed,” Peoples said Monday in a video update, explaining the need for precautions like hand washing.

CCHHS has urged people to continue to take the following precautionary measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit www.coconino.az.gov/covid19 or email COVID19Information@coconino.az.gov.

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

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