Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

This page is being updated daily.

Social Distancing Guidelines

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and the Pima County Health Department is closely monitoring any new developments.

Act Like You Got It

Facemask InstructionsWear a face covering when you’re out in public and around others (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). It’s not for your protection, it’s to keep other people safe. People can spread COVID-19 before they ever show symptoms, or even if they show no symptoms at all.

Cloth face coverings should...

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • include multiple layers of fabric.
  • allow for breathing without restriction.
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
DIY Face Covering Guide

COVID-19 Hotline

Two COVID-19 hotlines have been set up to answer questions from the public and healthcare providers about testing, symptoms, and many other virus-related topics.

For general information about COVID-19, including news, testing, prevention, and cleaning guidelines, call 2-1-1 from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily.

Healthcare Providers or people who have questions about symptoms they or their patients are having can call 1-844-542-8201, anytime.

Advisory

If someone in your family has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household at home and contact your medical provider.
COVID-19 Volunteers

COVID-19 Volunteers and Donations

Information for individuals and organizations seeking to volunteer their time or expertise or supplies and materials - people with healthcare and medical training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are particularly in demand.



Pima County needs you. Arizona needs you. Help us save lives.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Concern and uncertainty about a disease can cause strong emotions and anxiety in both adults and children. Learn more about managing mental health issues and how to help others.

Animals and COVID-19

FAQs from Pima Animal Care Center.

Get the current COVID-19 Case Information

The most up to date information about cases in Pima County is now being collected on the Arizona Department of Health Services website. The information displayed on that site is the official case data for Pima County.

Know How it Spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Take steps to protect others

Stay home if you’re sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface. Follow all manufacturers instructions (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.)
  • Cleaning options:
    • Diluted household bleach - mix: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with any other cleaner, especially ammonia, vinegar, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
    • Alcohol solutions - ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
    • Other common household disinfectants - retail cleaning products such as wipes and sprays that contain EPA-approved ingredients should be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder-to-kill viruses.

Social Distancing Recommendations

As local social distancing recommendations change, we will provide updates and links to more information here:

March 15, 2020 - AZ Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman Announce Closure Of Arizona Schools 
  • Statewide closure of Arizona schools from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020. Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman will work with education officials and public health officials to reassess the need for the school closures and provide further guidance through March 27, 2020.
March 15, 2020 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Issues New Mass Gatherings Guidance
  • CDC guidance recommends the cancellation of non-essential large gatherings of more than 50 people for the next 8 weeks. This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as businesses.
  • CDC also recommends that individuals older than 60 years of age and those with chronic medical conditions should not attend gatherings of more than 10 people, or be around anyone with symptoms of illness, due to their high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
March 15, 2020 - PCHD Issues Statement Regarding Food Establishments and Social Distancing
  • As PCHD works with restaurant industry leaders to discuss strategies to keep restaurants open and in business without increasing exposure risk to COVID-19, PCHD encourage the public to support their favorite dining establishments through pickup or delivery orders.

General Info About COVID-19

What is the coronavirus disease 2019?

COVID-19 (previously known as 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV), is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

It is part of a larger family of viruses called coronavirus, some of which are in circulation normally and can cause illnesses like the common cold. See the “About the Virus” section of this FAQ for more about this family of viruses. You can learn more about coronavirus disease 2019 at the CDC website.

How does the virus spread?

The virus is thought to spread person-to-person via respiratory droplets that are produced when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. This can occur from direct contact with the droplets or from fomite transmission.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How long can the virus that causes COVID-19 survive on surfaces?

A recent study found that SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on surfaces for variable periods of time, depending on the type of surface. The survival time on surfaces ranged from four hours (copper) to three days (plastic and stainless steel).

To kill the virus on surfaces, use a disinfectant that has been shown to be effective against SARS-CoV-2. A list of approved disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2 can be found on the EPA website. Be sure to clean frequently touched surfaces and objects often, such as counters, tabletops, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, and bedside tables.

Has anyone in the United States been infected?

Yes. Monitoring and testing are ongoing across the United States. A current case count table is available on the CDC website.

Where can I find the latest COVID-19 case count for Arizona?

For number of positive cases in Arizona, please visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website. The number of cases is updated every day at 9 a.m.

Where can I find the latest COVID-19 case count for Pima County?

For number of positive cases in Pima County, please visit the our COVID-19 webpage. This information is updated daily.

Is it true that NSAIDs like ibuprofen have been known to worsen COVID-19 symptoms?

According to the FDA, there is currently no scientific evidence connecting the use of NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, with worsening COVID-19 symptoms. The FDA is investigating this issue further and will communicate publicly when more information is available. For more info from the FDA on the subject, visit:
FDA advises patients on use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for COVID-19.

Prevention Tips

How can I protect myself?

  • 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 throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. See the "Protect Yourself" tab for more detailed information.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19.

Who is at higher risk for serious illness?

Those at higher risk for serious illness include older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. It is recommended that these individuals practice enhanced prevention strategies.

Face Coverings

What is the goal of this new guidance?

Wearing a cloth face cover may prevent people who have COVID-19 and don’t know it from spreading it to others. Cloth face coverings are NOT a reliable way to keep you from becoming infected if you are exposed. The best tools to protect yourself remain the same:
  • maintain physical distance from others by staying home as much as possible
  • washing or sanitizing your hands often
  • not touching your face
  • cleaning “high-touch” surfaces often

Why is this guidance coming out now?

As we learn more about the virus that causes COVID-19, it appears that some people who are sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness without having symptoms. This means that they could spread the illness to others without knowing it. If someone who has COVID-19 and does not know it wears a cloth face covering, it may prevent them from spreading the virus when they cough, breath, or talk.

Should I use the masks we see healthcare workers using?

No. the equipment being used by healthcare workers should be reserved for them to use in hospitals and other healthcare settings. If the general public is buying and taking up these resources, the healthcare workers who really need it will continue experiencing shortages. If you have surgical masks, N95 respirators, medical gloves or gowns and want to donate them to healthcare workers, visit pima.gov/covid19 and click on the “Volunteer and Donate” button.

When should I use a cloth face covering?

People do not need to wear face covers when alone, at home, or when outside way from other people. It may be good to wear a cloth face cover when you are in places where it is difficult to keep physical distance (at least 6 FT) from others. These might be when you have to go into a grocery store, work place, childcare center, or other place where contact closer than 6 FT with others cannot be avoided.

How should I put on my face cover?

  • Be sure to wash your hands very well BEFORE putting on a face covering.
  • As much as possible, do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth while placing the cover on.
  • Place the loop or ties around your ears snugly.
  • Ensure the edges of your covering to lay as close to your skin as possible all the way around.
  • Once secured, make sure the cover goes over your nose and under your mouth. You want both to be completely covered.

How do I correctly wear a cloth face covering?

  • Make sure your cover fits snugly and does not move around BEFORE you enter a public space.
  • Do not touch your face or covering while in public. Remember, keeping your hands away from your face is a very important way to protect yourself from getting sick.
  • Covers become much less effective if they become damp. Do not wet your cover.
  • If your cover becomes damp (moisture from your breath can cause the fabric to become damp), replace it.
  • Do not wear your cover for long periods of time. If you cannot avoid being in public spaces for long periods of time, consider having multiple covers you can switch out.

What's the best method of removing my cloth face cover?

  • Carefully remove the loops or ties, being sure not to touch your face.
  • Hold the cover from the loop or tie and place it either directly into the laundry or a container or bag that you can use to put it in the laundry without touching it.
  • Wash your face cover in the washer before using it again.
  • Be sure to wash your hands after removing your face cover.

Testing

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your healthcare provider will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

What is the delay with testing?

Testing remains in short supply, not because the labs aren't increasing their capacity, because there's a shortage of testing swabs and transport media for healthcare providers to ship tests to the lab. We're doing what we can to obtain supplies.

When will the testing criteria be expanded so that more people in Pima County can get tested?

Until we get more supplies, we will continue to adhere to the same testing criteria as before, see Testing Questions tab.

What’s the availability of COVID test kits in Pima County and how many people are you testing each day?

The County does not conduct COVID-19 testing, nor does it maintain a total number of tests submitted by commercial labs. Our role is to help healthcare providers who want to submit a test to the state laboratory for testing. Right now, most people who are mildly ill do not need to be tested. You can get more information about who should get tested on the “Testing Questions” tab on pima.gov/covid19

Info About Confirmed Cases

Has COVID-19 reached community-wide spread in Pima County?

In a press conference on March 15, Dr. Bob England said he thinks the entire country is going to have community-wide spread pretty soon. Locally, in Pima County, it's best to assume community-spread is happening and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

What level of information can we disclose regarding positive cases in Pima County?

For all positive cases of COVID-19, we are disclosing the age range of the person and their recovering status, meaning if they are recovering in or out a hospital. Where someone lives, works, got infected, and traveled are all very different. Trying to memorialize “where” the risk was is very difficult and could actually end up misleading. We recognize that people are concerned about areas where they should be cautious. With a virus as contagious as this is proving to be, we recommend that people take precautions everywhere they go. The current lack of testing is leading us to not have enough information about cases in our community, and so, the best thing people can do is practice those prevention and social distancing recommendations they are hearing so much about.

What is the definition of a recovered patient?

Someone who has been released from care and considered a “recovered patient” means the person is no longer sick, has no complications from the illness and is no longer considered contagious.

What is the estimated wait period before someone is considered no longer contagious?

The recommendation is 72 hours symptom-free.

Businesses

Can Pima County force other non-social gathering businesses to close?

Rules and regulations have changed quickly at the state, county, and city levels. Any orders issued by Governor Ducey may require local jurisdictions to change their directives. The only businesses or gatherings that can be “forced” to close are those identified by states, counties, and cities.

The state and county strongly urge employers to implement and practice prevention such as physical distancing, increased and repeated cleaning and sanitizing of workspaces, close monitoring of employees for illness and sending sick employees’ home, modification of leave policies and increase used of telecommuting if possible or appropriate. We rely on employers to make good decisions for the safety of their workforce and the public.

Are daycares still open?

Yes, day facilities remain open. As long as parents are working, we want families to have access to a safe place for their children to receive care. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) have provided guidance for child care centers to ensure they are able to provide a safe environment. These guidelines include increased sanitation, social distancing, avoiding mixing child care groups, and limiting rooms to 10 individuals when feasible. The full recommendations can be found here:

Are adult care facilities still open?

Yes, at this time there is no directive at this time to close this type of center. Adult day centers are being instructed to practice the same prevention measures as the general community and other facilities by practicing social distancing as much as possible, screening participants for symptoms, practicing good hygiene and cleaning and disinfecting.

Are workers in the human and animal food and feed sector considered part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce?

Yes, in a guidance issued by Department of Homeland Security on March 19 Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19, workers in the Food and Agriculture sector – agricultural production, food processing, distribution, retail and food service and allied industries – are named as essential critical infrastructure workers. Promoting the ability of our workers within the food and agriculture industry to continue to work during periods of community restrictions, social distances, and closure orders, among others, is crucial to community continuity and community resilience.

Where should the food industry go for guidance about business operations?

Food facilities, like other work establishments, need to follow protocols set by local and state health departments, which may vary depending on the amount of community spread of COVID-19 in a particular area. We encourage coordination with local health officials for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where they have operations.

Food Supply & Safety

Is the U.S. food supply safe?

Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.

Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. However, it’s always critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness.

Will there be food shortages?

There are no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock. Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the United States and no widespread disruptions have been reported in the supply chain.

FDA is closely monitoring the food supply chain for any shortages in collaboration with industry and our federal and state partners. We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores.

Where should I send questions if we are having problems moving food or getting food through areas that have curfews and restrictions because of the coronavirus?

If you are experiencing issues regarding your supply chain, delivery of goods, or business continuity, please contact the FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center at NBEOC@fema.dhs.gov. This is a 24/7 operation and they can assist in directing your inquiry to the proper contact.

A worker in my food processing facility/farm has tested positive for COVID-19. What steps do I need to take to ensure that the foods I produce are safe?

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 by food. Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality. Sick employees should follow the CDC’s What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Employers should consult with the local health department for additional guidance.

While the primary responsibility in this instance is to take appropriate actions to protect other workers and people who might have come in contact with the ill employee, facilities should re-double their cleaning and sanitation efforts to control any risks that might be associated with workers who are ill regardless of the type of virus or bacteria. For example, facilities are required to maintain clean and sanitized facilities and food contact surfaces.

See: FSMA Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food.

Food facilities are required to use EPA-registered “sanitizer” products in their cleaning and sanitizing practices.

In addition, there is a list of EPA-registered “disinfectant” products for COVID-19 on the Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 list that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogen program for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In addition, there is a list of EPA-registered “disinfectant” products for COVID-19 on the Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 list that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogen program for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. IMPORTANT: Check the product label guidelines for if and where these disinfectant products are safe and recommended for use in food manufacturing areas or food establishments.

Do I need to recall food products produced in the facility during the time that the worker was potentially shedding virus while working?

We do not anticipate that food products would need to be recalled or be withdrawn from the market because of COVID-19, as there is currently no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or food packaging.

Additionally, facilities are required to control any risks that might be associated with workers who are ill regardless of the type of virus or bacteria.

What other resources are available regarding food safety?


Volunteer and Donation Info

What can I do to help my community during the COVID-19 outbreak?

If you are a healthcare provider with an active license, a public health professional, member of a medical disaster response team, or non-health community volunteer willing to be on-call to support Arizona in the event of a disaster, you can help support public health emergency preparedness. Find more info and a registration link at https://esar-vhp.health.azdhs.gov/.

Additionally, the American Red Cross has reported a shortage in blood donations. So, if you’re in a position to give blood, you might consider donating as another option. To schedule an appointment, visit http://rcblood.org/appt

Lastly, follow the social distancing recommendations. Health professionals agree that the COVID-19 outbreak is going to take several months to resolve, which means it’s up to us to protect our community.

I would like to organize a food/supply collection site ¬to help our community. Is it OK to do so?

Instead of creating additional gathering places, which can lead to gatherings of more than 10 people, we recommend you volunteer your time or donate supplies ongoing efforts such as the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Questions About Testing

People who are mildly ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and can recover at home should do so. Anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath, fever of >100.4°F) should stay home and stay away from others who live in your home to the greatest extent possible.

If your symptoms are mild, please contact your doctor or Nurse Practitioner for advice and to schedule a virtual visit.

If you develop emergency warning signs of a respiratory infection, get medical attention immediately.

Emergency warning signs include, but are not limited to:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to wake
  • Bluish lips or face

If you have a medical emergency Call 9-1-1. Notify the operator that you have or think you might have COVID-19 so first responders can take proper precautions when they arrive.

If your clinician determines you should be tested for COVID-19, they may use the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory guidance to determine if your sample should go through the State Public Health Laboratory or to a private laboratory. The turnaround time varies at each lab. Your clinician will get your result and share them with you.

Testing Criteria Guide
Testing is not available at this point in time for individuals who do not meet these criteria.

If you have symptoms of respiratory illness but do not fit into the categories above, follow the same guidelines for any potentially infectious illness:
  • Stay home from work or school
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Stay hydrated with clear liquids
  • Limit contact with other members of your household
  • Keep your home clean using approved cleaning products.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if your symptoms get worse

Commercial Laboratory Testing

Commercial testing is now available with a provider referral at LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics.

Public Materials

From the Health Department:

Follow Official Sources for Accurate Information!

Help control the spread of rumors. Visit FEMA’s rumor control page. Beware of fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Visit Office of Inspector General’s COVID-19 fraud alert page.
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