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  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus

    *There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pima County.*

    CoV Picture

    While currently available information about COVID-19, caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, suggests a low immediate health risk for the general public, we consider any new infectious disease a serious concern and we are taking precautions. 

    COVID-19 is caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Provence, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 has since spread to other countries, including the United States.

    Based on what lessons from past outbreaks – including outbreaks of related coronaviruses – we know that finding cases quickly and responding to them effectively is key. That rapid response helps ensure that the ill person receives the care they need, and it lessens the chance of other people getting sick. Fortunately, Arizona has a strong disease surveillance system in place that includes partnerships with hospital and clinic systems as well as local health departments.

    The Pima County Health Department is working closely with our federal and state partners in public health, as well as local medical providers and hospitals, to monitor anybody who has recently returned to Pima County from China. Travelers from China are being routed to one of 11 airports in the United States, where they receive enhanced health screening. Anyone with symptoms are not allowed to travel to their final destination, including Pima County, until it has been determined they do not have COVID-19. 

    The best ways to prevent getting sick are washing your hands frequently with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water aren’t available, getting a flu shot, and staying home if you are sick to protect others. 
    We are learning much about COVID-19, this is a rapidly-evolving situation and there are things we don’t yet know. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

    2020 Tucson Gem Show 

    We have received many questions about how travel for the Gem Show may impact our local preparedness for diseases like COVID-19. As the Show moves forward we would like to remind residents that:

    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials consider the risk for exposure to this new coronavirus here in Pima County to be low.
    • The Health Department has a strong partnership with the City of Tucson and show organizers that allows us to easily share important information with one another.
    • The Health Department is working very closely with healthcare and public health partners to be prepared for public health threats like COVID-19 and is prepared to take action on any guidance or instructions provided by our state and federal partners should the need be identified.
    • There is a moderate/high risk that people in Pima County will get influenza, a common cold…, or stomach bug, as we know these are circulating in our community. These are readily spread in large groups of people, no matter where those people are from. The best protections from COVID-19 are the same actions you should take to prevent these other illnesses: wash your hands frequently, get a flu shot, and avoid people who are currently sick.
    Health officials are currently investigating and responding to an outbreak of respiratory illness centered in China caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the disease associated with this virus coronavirus disease 2019 or “COVID-19.” This virus is able to spread from person-to-person and has been detected in countries outside of China, including the United States.

    No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Pima County at this time.

    COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that not been previously found in people before.
    COVID-19 is not caused by the same coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). However, it is in the same family of viruses.
    This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment for Pima County may change. More information will be provided when it is available.

    plane flying around a globe withe text reading 'risk of novel coronavirus is associated with recent travel to China. Not groups of people. Not certain ethnicities.' Pima County Health Department logo and the phrase 'protecting public health together'

    Arizona Dept. of Health Services Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19
    Learn more about 2019-nCoV on the CDC: 2019 Novel Coronavirus website.

    If you have NOT recently traveled to China...

    There are currently no vaccines to prevent COVID-19. The best ways to prevent many illnesses that spread from person-to-person, including coronaviruses, are to:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    If you have recently traveled to China...

    • Anyone who recently traveled to China AND experiences fever, cough, or other acute illness should isolate themselves from others and immediately contact a health care provider (doctor, hospital, clinic) or the Pima County Health Dept. Any person, including healthcare workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient within 14 days AND experiences fever, cough, or other symptoms should also isolate themselves from others and immediately isolate themselves and contact a health care provider or the Pima County Health Department.
    • Please call ahead and inform the health care provider about your symptoms and travel history.

    If you are planning travel to China...

    The CDC has issued a travel warning to avoid all unnecessary travel to China during the outbreak. Chinese officials have closed some airports and transportation in and out of certain areas has been greatly restricted. Chinese health officials have reported thousands of cases in China and severe illness has been reported, including deaths. Cases have also been identified in travelers to other countries, including the United States. This virus can spread from person-to-person. Review CDC's Travel Health Notices if you are traveling to China.

    Review CDC's Travel Health Notices if you are traveling to China.

    Arizona clinicians are asked to:

    • Mask and isolate patients presenting with acute respiratory illness and recent travel from Wuhan City, China in the last 14 days. Isolation should take place in an airborne isolation room, if available.
    • Immediately notify your healthcare facility’s infection control personnel and Pima County Health Department.
    • Healthcare personnel encountering a suspect patient should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield).
    • Obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness.
    • Consider testing for seasonal respiratory illnesses, like influenza.
    • Coordinate with Pima County Health Department for specimen collection, transport, and testing for suspect cases.
    The Arizona Department of Health Services and local health departments are coordinating surveillance and communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding COVID-19.

    For the most up-to-date information on the outbreak please visit the CDC's website for the Novel Coronavirus 2019 currently being monitored.

    Full Healthcare Provider Guidance (Printable)
    Full Infection Control for Healthcare Facilities (Printable)


    Healthcare Provider Guidance - ADHS
    Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals - CDC
    Interim Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations - CDC
    Infection Prevention and Control During Health Care When Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) Infection is Suspected - WHO
    If there is not a clear emergency requiring emergency services, it is preferable to have the person pre-evaluated by public health officials in the location where they reside. If possible, it may be preferable to arrange for private vehicle transport instead of using emergency medical services. Note: Local travel by private vehicle is only permissible if the symptomatic person is wearing a facemask. 

    All EMS and other healthcare personnel should take standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and use eye protection (e.g. goggles or face shield) when in contact with a person under investigation for COVID-19.

    If a patient suspected to be exposed to COVID-19 is arriving via transport by emergency medical services (EMS), the ambulance attendant should contact the receiving emergency department (ED) or healthcare facility to allow the healthcare facility to prepare for receipt of the patient.
    Patient Management Precautions:
    • When possible, mask patients as soon as possible if they report recent travel to China.
    • Ideally, patients should be evaluated in a private space with minimal contact with others.
    • Immediately notify your chain of command. Response agencies should notify the Health Department if they have a patient who reports travel to China in the past 14 days AND is exhibiting symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
    • The number of EMS and hospital personnel should be limited to those providing essential care services to minimize potential exposures.

    Full printable guidance: EMS Recommendations Alert - Pima County


    For more information, visit CDC’s Interim Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients Under Investigation for 2019 Novel Coronavirus.


    As additional information is available, the Department will post up-to-date resources from the CDC, ASPR, and NHTSA and on the EMS website.

    There is no current evidence of the spread of COVID-19 locally.

    We do know that viruses like coronaviruses can be killed by following very simple cleaning procedures. If your personal of organization's cleaning procedures meet or exceed these recommendations, most commonly circulating viruses and bacteria can be eliminated:
    • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day.
    • Be sure to clean any surfaces that may have blood, body fluids and/or secretions or excretions on them.
    • Read label of cleaning products and follow recommendations provided on product labels. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves or aprons and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
    • Use a diluted bleach solution or a household disinfectant with a label that says “EPA-approved.”
    • To make a bleach solution at home, add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. For a larger supply, add ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water.
    For more about cleaning procedures for disinfection, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at - https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/index.html

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    Health Department

    3950 S. Country Club Road
    Ste. 100
    Tucson, AZ 85714

    (520) 724-7770

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