Healthcare Worker Is Third Person Diagnosed with Coronavirus in Arizona

By Jessica Swarner

March 6, 2020

Here are new developments on Coronavirus in Arizona. The Copper Courier will continue to provide updates as they develop.

Officials identified the state’s most recent case of coronavirus Friday as a healthcare worker employed in Maricopa County but who lives in Pinal County. 

According to both counties, the patient is a woman in her 40s. She is currently hospitalized and in stable condition. 

Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control for Maricopa County Public Health, and Dr. Shauna McIsaac, director of Pinal County Public Health Department, said they are prevented by law from sharing more information that may reveal who the patient is. 

Health officials said all of the woman’s close contacts have been identified and given information on what to do if they show signs of symptoms. They believe this is Arizona’s first instance of community spread for COVID-19, meaning there is no known source of the woman’s infection. The state’s other two cases have been classified as “travel-related.” 

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said she expects the disease to look like a bad flu season in the community. So far this season, 28,000 people in the state have been diagnosed with the flu. 

With projections like that, the state will need plenty of medical professionals. Sunenshine said healthcare workers who come into contact with an infected person will no longer be asked to stay home unless they present symptoms in order to prevent a staff shortage. 

“Before, when we just had one or two cases, our job in public health was to contain the disease and try to keep COVID-19 out of our community,” Sunenshine said at a press conference. “Now that there is community spread, we all need to do our part to slow the spread, which means keeping sick people away from others.”

McIsaac said there are three main ways to best prevent the disease:

  • Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Anyone showing symptoms of the virus is cautioned to stay home.

For live updates relating to the spread of coronavirus in Arizona, visit our live update page.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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