State Officials Confirm First Coronavirus Death in Arizona

By Jessica Swarner

March 20, 2020

The first victim to succumb to the virus in Maricopa County had underlying health conditions. 

Friday night, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced the death of a man in his 50s as a result of COVID-19. The man, who had unspecified underlying health conditions, is the first reported death in the state.

“We express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends grieving their loved one during this difficult time,” Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS Director, said in a press release. “COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions.” 

The agency said the Maricopa County Department of Public Health was working to notify any of the man’s close contacts and ask them to monitor themselves for symptoms. 

Christ said it’s important for the community to continue to stay vigilant and follow the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations, which include staying home when sick, washing hands frequently for 20 seconds, avoid touching the face, and disinfect touched objects frequently. 

“We expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, and there could be more deaths,” Christ said. “It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect you and your family from this disease.”

As of Friday, there were 63 cases of coronavirus in Arizona. The state had tested 343 people, with 101 of those tests pending and 211 ruled negative. Commercial labs have also been testing for coronavirus, but they do not report the number of tests to the state – only confirmed cases – so it is unclear how many total Arizonans have been tested. 

According to The New York Times, 238 people have died from the disease in the U.S. The virus has killed more than 11,000 people worldwide.


  • 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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