One resident to be self-quarantined, but no confirmed coronavirus cases in Mohave County
KINGMAN – A Mohave County resident who was potentially exposed to the coronavirus will be under self-quarantine at home.
The county resident was one of 17 passengers from Arizona who were on the Grand Princess cruise ship, which was allowed to dock in Oakland, California, on Monday, March 9, according to the Mohave County Department of Public Health.
In a related matter, Denise Burley, director of the Mohave County Department of Public Health, said several county residents have been tested for the virus, but there are no confirmed cases.
“Several tests have been submitted, but due to confidentiality, we cannot divulge exact numbers,” Burley said.
She did divulge state numbers. “As of March 2, 84 tests for the coronavirus have been tested at the state lab in Arizona,” she said, noting that the turnaround time is 24 hours from when a specimen is collected, submitted and analyzed. The exception is weekends, when the lab is closed.
In the event the Arizona laboratory has a backlog of specimens to be tested, commercial labs Sonora Quest and Lab Corps are equipped to process the test kits. Burley confirmed that the Centers for Disease Control provided Arizona with the test kits.
The cruise ship passenger was onboard when 19 crew members and two passengers on the ship tested positive for the virus. The Arizonans on board have shown no signs of infection, Mohave County wrote in a news release.
“A decision was made by the federal and State of Arizona governments to allow the 17 Arizona residents to return to their homes in Arizona,” the county wrote.
The Arizona Department of Health Services is making arrangements for the passengers to be transported back to Arizona, where they will confine themselves to their homes. County health officials will be notified when the Mohave County resident arrives.
County health officials said the individual poses no increased risk to the public by returning home. He or she will be closely monitored to assure that the self-quarantine guidelines are being followed.
“MCDPH does not feel there is an increased risk to the public by allowing the Mohave County resident to come back home and to self-quarantine. MCDPH will continue to monitor the resident and ensure the self-quarantine guidelines are being followed,” the county wrote.
MCDPH’s public health nurses will monitor the individual regularly for fever and other symptoms, and ensure that he or she has food and supplies.
After 14 days have passed, if no symptoms occur, the individual will be released from self-quarantine. If symptoms develop, he or she will be tested and isolated.
“If the test is positive, the individual will remain in isolation and close monitoring by MCDPH public health nurses will continue, and a contact investigation will be implemented,” the news release explained.
The American passengers began disembarking from the Grand Princess on Monday, and were placed under mandatory 14-day quarantine, with most going to military bases in California, Texas, and Georgia. Passengers who were severely ill and required acute medical attention were the first to disembark.
The majority of the passengers – over 1,000 – were from California and were sent to the Travis Air Force Base, north of San Francisco, or to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. American passengers from other states were transported to military bases in either Texas or Georgia. Foreign passengers were sent to their home countries to complete their 14-day quarantine.
MCDPH continues to encourage residents to observe good hygiene practices, such as washing their hands frequently, covering their mouths if coughing or sneezing, and staying home if they are ill.
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 visit www.cdc.gov/Coronavirus or https://azdhs.gov. You can also call the Mohave County Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 information line at 1-866-409-4099.
On Wednesday, March 11, Burley attended a tri-cities meeting in Lake Havasu City. She was joined by the mayors and city managers of Havasu, Bullhead City and Kingman. She said the officials agreed that a calm and coordinated response to the coronavirus threat included residents stepping up to look after vulnerable people in each community.
“We know that the at-risk groups are older people with underlying health issues,” Burley said. “We need to encourage them to not attend large events where there will be a lot of other people. Also, they need to keep their social distance to avoid getting the coronavirus.”
“Social distance” is one of those phrases being bandied about in connection with COVID-19. It means maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other individuals. It is believed that the coronavirus is less likely to be transmitted at that distance. The respiratory virus can easily spread through sneezing and coughing.
In a Mohave County press release late last week, Communications Director Roger Galloway stated that “…it is likely the virus will spread in our local communities. The public health response is rapidly evolving to a mitigation response – that means the main focus of public health will be to reduce the severity, community spread, and negative impact in the community as a whole.”
If you feel ill
It’s hard to tell the difference between influenza and the coronavirus, Burley said. Still, one’s response should be the same: Isolate yourself and drink plenty of fluids to flush out your system.
“Wear a mask to protect other people in your home and follow sanitation protocols – wash your hands frequently and keep hard surfaces sanitized. If you don’t have a mask, use a bandana. It’s not ideal, but we use what we have available to us,” she advised.
“If your symptoms are mild enough, stay home and recover,” she said. “But if you’re in distress, reach out to your medical provider. And don’t forget about telemedicine – most major insurances provide that service.”
If a person feels they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus, they should be tested.
“A medical provider can collect a specimen by swabbing,” Burley said. “They can also do other tests to rule things out. One test is a respiratory viral panel. If that test comes back negative, then they can test for the coronavirus.”
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