KINGMAN — The rapidity of changes in COVID-19 data was in evidence again Thursday afternoon.
Hours after Mohave County Department of Public Health Director Denise Burley provided some clarification on the infection categories of the county’s first 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19, her department reported six additional cases, including two in Bullhead City.
The two new cases bring to eight the total of confirmed cases in Bullhead City, according to the health department. The newest cases are a person in the 45-54 age group that is epidemiologically linked to another case and a person in the 65-and-over age group that is epidemiologically linked to a different case.
Both are isolating at home and recovering, the health department said.
The other new cases — four in Kingman — bring the county’s total to 75. Only one of the four new Kingman cases is hospitalized. That case, of a patient 65-or-older, has not been linked to another case nor to travel outside the area.
That is a growing concern for the county; earlier, Burley said that 14 of the 69 cases reported by noon on Thursday were considered “community acquired.”
“What that means is they don’t have any association with travel, they don’t have any association with health care and they have no close household contact (with another confirmed case),” she said during a meeting of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors. “It’s an unknown source, basically.”
Burley said that nine of the first 69 cases were travel-related — people who had traveled outside the county and returned with the infection. Thirty-five were health-care associated infections — acquired during hospitalizations or stays in long-term care facilities or acquired by health-care workers. Ten are considered close-contact infections, typically from someone in the same household or who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive.
There have been 41 confirmed cases in Kingman and 26 in Lake Havasu City. Three deaths, all in Lake Havasu City, have been linked to COVID-19.
Asked if higher numbers in Kingman were the result of more testing being done at Kingman Regional Medical Center than at Havasu Regional Medical Center in Lake Havasu City, Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City or Valley View Medical Center in Fort Mohave, Burley said that was the
“Anecdotally, I would say that there’s probably more of the virus out there, more of the disease out there, than we’re aware of because there’s not the same level of testing going on in those communities,” she said. “That’s really the impetus and the real drive to increase our testing, so we will have a better sense of what that virus really looks like in (its) spread in our community.”
She again said testing will be bolstered once supplies allow it.
“There continues to be ... a shortage of testing supplies available to increase that testing,” she said. “That is a major emphasis for the state and the federal government, to increase that testing when means we need those supplies to do that work.”
While testing has improved in the county, Burley stressed, “Still a lot of room for improvement there.”