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Posted on: March 20, 2020

Public Health Officials Confirm First Death Due to COVID-19

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News Release

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2020
Media Contact: Chris J. Minnick
Mobile: 480-772-1568 (Text for quickest response)
E-Mail: chris.minnick@azdhs.gov

Arizona Public Health Officials Confirm First Death Due to COVID-19
Take precautions and practice social distancing to protect you and your family

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) have confirmed the first death due to COVID-19 in Arizona. The individual was a male in his 50s with underlying health conditions. MCDPH is in the process of notifying close contacts of this person and will be asking them to monitor for symptoms.

“We express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends grieving their loved one during this difficult time,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS Director. “COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. We expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, and there could be more deaths. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect you and your family from this disease.”

The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

COVID-19 spreads 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 healthcare.

ADHS activated its Health Emergency Operations Center on January 27th after the first case of travel-associated COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona. The Health Emergency Operations Center remains open to coordinate the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

For more information about the COVID-19 response in Arizona, go online to azhealth.gov/COVID19.

For more information about COVID-19 in Maricopa County, please visit Maricopa.gov/Coronavirus.

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