KINGMAN — About the same time officials proclaimed there still are no cases of COVID-19 in Mohave County, a hospital in the county seat said a test could neither confirm nor rule out the virus in a local patient.
“Medical providers recently took a swab sample from a patient with respiratory symptoms who came to the (Kingman Regional Medical Center) emergency room,” said an announcement on the KRMC Facebook page. “The sample was subsequently sent to a reference laboratory for testing. The test results were returned today, which were inconclusive.”
KRMC explained: “This means that COVID-19 has not been ruled out, nor has it been confirmed definitively. At this time, this is not a presumptive positive nor a confirmed positive. However, the patient has been advised to self-quarantine and the case should be managed as positive until further testing determines conclusive results.”
KRMC’s posting hit the internet about the same time that Mohave County officials were conducting an online news conference about the coronavirus from the supervisors’ auditorium in Kingman.
“The especially good news is, we currently have no reports of any positive cases in Mohave County,” Sup. Jean Bishop said as she opened the 30-minute briefing.
Bishop, the chairwoman of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, then declared an emergency in the county, joining similar declarations by Gov. Doug Ducey and city councils in Kingman and Bullhead City.
“This declaration ... may free up federal and state funding earlier and more rapidly,” Bishop said.
She said it would help ensure that the county “has all the necessary tools available and in place to address the needs of the public.”
Denise Burley, director of the Mohave County Department of Public Health, also noted there had been “no presumptive positive cases in our county.”
She said if that changed, it would be noted on the department’s website, which she said is being updated “every day to try to inform the public on the number of cases in our county.”
Roger Galloway, Mohave County communications director, said the county is being included in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s low-interest federal disaster loan program. The SBA assistance program, specifically targeting seven primary counties in Utah, also includes 16 other Utah counties, Apache, Coconino, Mohave and Navajo counties in Arizona, five counties in Colorado, one in Nevada, one in New Mexico and two in Wyoming.
“Small businesses, private nonprofit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza in a news release distributed by the SBA.
While Wednesday’s news briefing was meant to assuage the fears of residents, it may have done the opposite.
In a brief remark, Sup. Gary Watson said that the county was doing “everything possible that we can at the moment” and urged residents to “remain calm. Remain faithful in your government.”
After advising residents to use common sense, he added, “If necessary, if you don’t get bottled water, try boiling some.”
Later in the afternoon, the City of Kingman issued its own news release, reassuring residents of the city that the water was safe to drink.
“The city of Kingman’s water is safe to drink and does not require boiling,” the Kingman statement said. “The city professionals who are in charge of making sure our water is safe to drink, are constantly hard at work following all guidelines and federal standards.”
The statement added, “The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual.”