21 on cruise ship off California test positive for virus

A map showing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the United States is displayed as Vice President Mike Pence, at lower left, tours the Washington State Emergency Operations Center, Thursday, March 5, 2020 at Camp Murray in Washington state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

CASA GRANDE — State health officials have confirmed two more cases of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, in Pinal County.

The Arizona Department of Health Services said both cases came from the same home of the Pinal County resident who was confirmed to have the virus on Friday. The Pinal County Public Health Department and state agency are investigating the cases but no further details were offered.

The additional two cases are believed to be linked to the woman's son and husband.

On Sunday the Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed the person who previously tested positive for coronavirus is a member of the American Leadership Academy, Ironwood K-12 Campus in Queen Creek.

The original patient, a health care worker in her 40s, lives and works in Pinal County and is currently in stable condition in a Maricopa County hospital. She is not a known contact of any confirmed COVID-19 cases and has not traveled to any areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely.

Pinal County health officials have said the woman is not a known contact of any confirmed coronavirus patients and has not traveled to any areas where coronavirus is spreading widely. This prompted county agencies to treat the case as the first instance of "community spread" in our state.

“Community spread refers to the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. Just like during flu season, if you get symptoms, you need to stay home and take care of yourself,” Dr. Shauna McIsaac, director of Pinal County Public Health, said Friday. “Similar to the flu, most people will only have mild symptoms that do not require a visit to a health care provider or hospital. Individuals who are older or have underlying health conditions like chronic lung disease are at higher risk of more severe illness. Occasionally, a young, healthy person will have severe disease. Unfortunately, this woman is one of those people.”

This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in Arizona to five, with the other two being from the metro Phoenix area.

Queen Creek Town Council Member Jeff Brown posted on Facebook that a student at ALA Ironwood in Queen Creek has contracted coronavirus. Brown later edited the post, removing information about the school and other information about the student.

"The student that has contracted the virus is the son of the reported health care worker in Pinal County that the media reported about yesterday," Brown's original post said. "The husband of the woman, has also been confirmed as contracting the virus and apparently is hospitalized."

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced that state and local health officials have been working with the administration of American Leadership Academy, Ironwood K-12 campus regarding the matter.

As the school recently started spring break, administrators will have time to fully implement public health recommendations before school is back in session, health officials said. The school administration has proactively taken steps to ensure the safety of the families and staff, including cleaning all areas of the campus, establishing enhanced daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces, adding hand sanitizing stations to hallways, and incorporating routine hand hygiene practices throughout the day when students return.

State and local public health are actively investigating to identify any close contacts that may have been exposed. Identified individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. Any members of this community who are sick with fever, shortness of breath and cough should call their health care provider who can help determine if COVID-19 testing is needed. Families and staff will receive a letter from the school with information on what they need to know and how they can prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Washing hands with soap and water and not touching your eyes, nose or mouth continues to be the best way to decrease the spread of the virus, officials said. They also urged anyone feeling sick to stay home.

The virus spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The symptoms are thought to appear between two and 14 days after exposure, the department said. Children appear to have milder forms of the respiratory illness and aren't at risk for “severe disease,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

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