KINGMAN — The Mohave County Department of Public Health on Saturday said there now are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county and issued an alert for people who may have been exposed to the disease more than a week ago at the public library in Kingman.
The sixth confirmed case was described as an adult in the Kingman service area who is recovering at home under self-quarantine. As with the previous five confirmed cases, the health department issued no information on age, gender or circumstances surrounding the infection.
“The Mohave County Public Health nursing staff is in the process of contacting the person to implement monitoring and launch the contact investigation,” the health department said Saturday in a news release.
Three cases have been reported in Kingman, including one adult who is hospitalized in isolation. Two cases in Lake Havasu and one in Bullhead City — and the other two cases in Kingman — involve adults who are in self-quarantine.
The number of cases — the first wasn’t confirmed until last Tuesday — continues to rise as more tests are being conducted in the area both by hospitals and private labratories. The positive cases don’t necessarily suggest an increase of exposure but indicate that the virus likely has been present locally in people who previously hadn’t been tested.
Late Friday, the health department posted an alert on the county’s coronavirus response hub — https://covid-19-mohave.hub.arcgis.com/ — advising anyone who visited the Kingman branch of the Mohave County Library between March 10 and March 15 to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
That is the health department’s first information on a possible transmission source of — or possible exposure to — a confirmed case in the county.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has updated the community transmission level of COVID-19 in Arizona to “widespread.” Widespread transmission indicates that cases have been confirmed in 12 or more of the 15 counties in the state.
“Given widespread transmission, all Arizonans should expect that COVID-19 is circulating in their community,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS director.
Mohave County Public Health Director Denise Burley said, “The number one priority of Mohave County is the safety and health of its residents. The health department along with all of our government, healthcare and essential service partners are working together to respond to the latest case and prepare for future cases.”
COVID-19, a respiratory illness, is believed to be spread 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. For people with mild illness, individuals are asked to stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and get rest. For people with more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, individuals are advised to seek health care.
“COVID-19 is a serious disease that is highly contagious and can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions,” Christ said. “Protecting those at highest risk of complications and ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared to deal with a surge in cases is our highest priority. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect themselves and their family from this disease.”
The county health department advises everyone to take precautions to prevent spread of the disease which has claimed more than 30,000 lives worldwide, more than 1,300 in the United States and at least 13 in Arizona.
Recommended precautions include:
- Avoid large groups of people and practice social distancing — staying at least six feet away from another person — whenever possible.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places — elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
- Avoid touching your face, nose and eyes.
- Clean and disinfect your personal area to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, remote controls, computer keyboards, cell phones and home phones).
- If you develop acute respiratory illness symptoms, such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, notify your healthcare provider.