KINGMAN — The first COVID-19 death in Mohave County was reported Saturday.
Three new cases of the coronavirus — all in the Lake Havasu City area and one involving an out-of-state resident — were reported Saturday by the Mohave County Department of Public Health. The out-of-state case is not included in Mohave County’s official case count, which now stands at 15.
According to the county health department, one of the new cases resulted in the death of a person over the age of 65. That person, who was not identified further, reportedly had other underlying health conditions.
“MCDPH is in the process of notifying close contacts of these cases and will be asking them to monitor for any symptons,” said a news release from the county health department.
“We wish to express our deep sorrow for the victim, family and friends of our first COVID-19 death in Mohave County,” said Jean Bishop, chairwoman of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors. “We are well aware of the devastating consequences of this terrible international disease. Please practice physical distancing, wash your hands thoroughly and stay safe for you, yours and others.
“We’re all in this together.”
Eight new cases were reported since Thursday with five reported Friday.
All 15 cases have been reported since March 24. The county has provided little information about the patients but did diclose collective age and gender information on the first 13 patients, at least four of whom have been hospitalized.
There have been eight confirmed cases in the Lake Havasu City area, five in the Kingman area and two in the Bullhead City area.
Seven of the first 13 fall in the 18- to 49-year-old age group, four in the 50-64 age group and two in the 65-and-older age group. Of the first 13, eight were women and five were men.
Age and gender information were not available for the newest victims except for the age group of the person who died.
“These additional increases in positive cases across the county indicates a strong presence of COVID-19 in our communites,” said Denise Burley, director of the Mohave County Public Health Department.
COVID-19 is believed to be spread mostly through respiratory droplets produced when a sick person coughs or sneezes.
Burley said, “It is of utmost importance for all residents and visitors to stay home unless absolutely necessary, practice good hygiene, and engage in physical distancing (6 feet apart). We must work individually and as a community to keep our case numbers down.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.
The county has not provided recovery information on its 13 cases because all have come within the last two weeks. The county’s first confirmed case was reported March 24, with a second the following day and a third the day after that.
Two more cases were announced March 27, two more March 28 and another April 1 before the five cases announced Friday.
In Arizona, there had been at least 2,019 cases confirmed by Saturday afternoon, resulting in 52 deaths. Nevada has reported at least 1,742 cases with 43 deaths while California has reported 12,510 cases and at least 249 deaths.
According to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University, more than 305,000 cases and 8,000 deaths had been reported in the United States by Saturday afternoon.
More than 1.1 million cases have been reported globally, resulting in at least 62,000 deaths.
As more tests become available, the number of confirmed cases has swollen. Health experts contend that, while the virus still is spreading, the sudden, stark rise in positive cases is a direct result of more tests being made available to community health facilities and private laboratories. Initially, most testing had been conducted by labs run by state departments of health.
The Arizona State Public Health Laboratory has reported only 78 of the state’s confirmed cases; the remaining 1,941 were reported by private labs.
Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. According to the Mohave County Department of Public Health, the best ways to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases include:
- Avoid close contact with sick individuals.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away immediately.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if water and soap are not available.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and frequently used or touched objects with disinfectant sprays or wipes.
- Remember to practice social distancing (about six feet or more between individuals).