PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) announced March 12 that Arizona will receive $12.4 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the public health response to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a ADHS press release. These funds are in addition to the $500,000 already received from the CDC on March 4.
ADHS will work with local public health departments to develop and implement plans to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona. Key funding priorities will include surveillance and investigation activities, laboratory testing, infection control supply procurement and distribution, and risk communication.
“The state response to the COVID-19 outbreak is the top priority of ADHS, and we will be working with local public health departments to distribute and use the funds where they will make the greatest impact to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS director. “We have community spread of this virus in Arizona, and we will see additional cases. Our public health strategy is to slow the spread of the disease and protect those who are most at risk for serious complications.”
Governor Doug Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency on March 11 to combat the spread of COVID-19, which will give ADHS access to an additional $500,000 in emergency funds that can be used for resources to protect public health. The governor also issued an executive order aimed at preventing spread among at-risk populations, such as the elderly, and reducing financial burdens on Arizonans by lowering healthcare costs associated with the virus. ADHS activated its Health Emergency Operations Center on January 26 after the first case of travel-associated COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona. The Health Emergency Operations Center remains open to coordinate the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
There are nine cases of COVID-19 in Arizona (the number of cases increased to 18 on March 16). Two of the cases have been confirmed by the CDC, and the other seven are presumptive positive cases tested at the Arizona State Public Health Lab. These are tests that are pending confirmation from the CDC but are counted as cases, and public health takes appropriate action based on the results. There are three cases in Maricopa County, five cases in Pinal County and one case in Pima County.
COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. People at highest risk for complications and death from COVID-19 are older adults and people with serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease.
Public health officials are advising residents that flu and other respiratory diseases are circulating in the community and are recommending everyone get a flu shot and follow
basic infection prevention guidelines. The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses are to:
- 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 the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.