KINGMAN — Two people have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in Mohave County and county officials and their municipal counterparts are urging citizens and businesses to comply with restrictions detailed under Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive orders.
The county health department confirmed late Tuesday night that the first infected county resident is recovering at home in the Lake Havasu City area. That another infected person is recovering at home in Bullhead City was announced during a Wednesday news conference in Kingman.
“As of this morning, one positive case has been identified in a patient who was tested in the WARMC emergency department and released to home quarantine,” confirmed Michael J. Stenger, chief executive officer of Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City.
Both cases involve adults, but gender, specific age, identity and other details are withheld given patient confidentiality and privacy protection afforded under the law. Mohave County Department of Public Health Director Denise Burley said county staff is investigating both cases to determine whether infected parties exposed others to the virus.
“It can be very time intensive to track the contacts of these individuals and in large part it depends upon the circle of that individual and their involvement in the community or with family and friends,” she said. “It could be just a few people or it could be 50, or larger.”
Burley said all but two COVID-19 tests involving Mohave County have returned negative. However, she said officials await the results of another 70 to 100 tests.
“Having that many pending results certainly puts people on edge and causes angst,” Burley said. She added that additional positive test results are likely, but said she did not want to speculate how many local cases there might be over the next few days and beyond.
“I prefer not to go down that road” of speculation, she said.
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Jean Bishop said confirmation of the first case in Mohave County triggered restrictions that are detailed under Ducey’s directives.
“Effective immediately all bars, movie theaters and indoor gyms and fitness clubs must close access to the public,” Bishop told reporters. “All restaurants shall close access to on-site dining. Restaurants may continue serving the public through pickup, delivery and drive-through operations.”
In answer to a question about beauty parlors and hair salons, Bishop directed reporters to review Ducey’s executive orders regarding which businesses are under which restrictions. She said the governor has prohibited local government from impeding or interfering with professionals who are deemed to be performing essential services or functions.
Asked if the supervisors had considered attempting to supersede the governor’s orders or expand the scope of those orders, Bishop replied: “We have not.”
Bishop declined to estimate the economic impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on Mohave County or will have going forward.
“It’s not known at this time,” she said, admitting that it is having a “serious impact.”
Sup. Gary Watson noted that one of his contacts with the Bureau of Land Management advised of public health concerns involving public lands and recreation areas. Similar to the person-to-person, six-foot social distancing recommendations, Watson said a 50-foot segregation suggestion is aimed at camping and parking areas.
Bishop urged people to turn to trusted information sources when in doubt. She strongly advised against spreading suspect, or misinformation.
“The rumors are almost bad as the virus itself,” Bishop said. She reminded all that the county webpage (www.mohavecounty.us) is loaded with reliable information and pandemic links.
The Mohave Valley Daily News also has a webpage devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes links to other resources, such as the Mohave County and Arizona health department pages as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites.