Sixth Person Tests Positive for Coronavirus in Arizona


By Jessica Swarner

March 9, 2020

Here’s the latest information on the status of COVID-19 in the state.

Local health officials announced the sixth confirmed case of COVID-19 in Arizona on Monday. The result was considered a presumptive positive, meaning the person tested positive in the state’s lab but has not been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a released statement, Pima County officials said the person had recently traveled to an area where there is community spread of the disease, commonly known as the coronavirus. This marks the third travel-related case in the state.

Officials also revealed that the individual lives in an unincorporated part of the county and is currently recovering at home in isolation. This is the first case for Pima County. Of the other five known cases in the state, two of those diagnosed are Maricopa County residents and three are from Pinal County. Pima health officials said the spread of the virus into the county was not unexpected, and have been preparing accordingly.

“This does not change Pima County’s approach,” Dr. Bob England, director of the Pima County Health Department, said in a released statement. “We have been preparing for this for several weeks. We are not recommending closing schools or cancelling events.”

England also said, “We know that most people who have gotten COVID-19 have mild symptoms and we ask that you stay home if you are sick. Those most at risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19 are older adults and those with existing chronic health conditions.”

Prior to the announcement of the state’s sixth confirmed case of coronavirus, Arizona Department of Health Services released additional information Monday morning on the fifth individual in the state to contract the virus. The person is reportedly a member of the American Leadership Academy Ironwood Campus community in Queen Creek, Arizona.

Officials from the school’s district office confirmed the parent’s of the school member have also tested positive for the virus. The individual’s parents were the third and fourth people in the state to contract the virus.

District officials stated that the campus is cleaned and sanitized to prevent spread of the virus. The school is currently closed for spring break, and officials don’t expect any additional closures as a result of the coronavirus.

Flight to Canada from Sky Harbor Harbors Two Coronavirus Carriers

Another coronavirus-related announcement released on Monday revealed that two passengers on a flight to Canada from Sky Harbor Airport in late February have since tested positive for the virus.

According to ABC15, the pair left Phoenix on a WestJet flight to Toronto on Feb. 28. The airline was notified by the Public Health Agency of Canada on March 5, who in turn alerted city officials of the incident.

WestJet said any passengers who sat in rows 18-22 of flight 1199 on March 5 should self-quarantine and alert health officials of their situations. Phoenix officials said that anyone who might have been exposed to the virus as a result of the incident will be notified.

“At this time the CDC has not requested any specific changes to Phoenix Sky Harbor’s standard health and safety protocols related to the virus,” a city spokesman told ABC15. “Some airports have been designated as primary gateways, with additional health protocols in place because of their high number of nonstop flights to impacted areas. Sky Harbor is not a designated airport at this time.”

As an added precaution, the airport has reportedly increased its cleaning and employee hygiene regimen in response to the disease. 

Blood Bank Asks For Donations

Arizona-based blood bank Vitalant is also taking extra precautions in response to the spread of the coronavirus, and is asking for an increase in blood donations from those who qualify.

“Hospitals will be extremely challenged if COVID-19 infections increase,” Vitalant executive Dr. Ralph Vassallo said in a press release. “The last thing we want them worrying about is having enough blood for trauma victims and cancer patients.”

In addition to the standard prerequisites for individuals interested in providing a blood donation, Vitalant officials ask that donors also meet the following requirements:

  • have not visited Mainland China, South Korea, Iran and/or Italy within 28 days;
  • have not had a coronavirus infection; and
  • have not been exposed to someone suspected of having a COVID-19 infection. 

“According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the risk of contracting COVID-19 is currently low,” Vassallo said. “Furthermore, due to the nature of the virus, it is highly unlikely that it can be transmitted through blood transfusions.”

Anyone interested in donating blood through Vitalant can schedule an appointment online.


  • 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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