State health chief shares advice on avoiding coronavirus

By: - February 28, 2020 4:48 pm

A microscopic image of COVID-19, the virus causing the coronavirus. Photo by NIAID-RML | Flickr/CC BY 2.0

As the state and nation is preparing for more cases of COVID-19, also commonly referred to as the coronavirus, the state’s public health director has advice for all Arizonans on how to be prepared to stop the spread of the virus in Arizona.

“It is expected that more cases will be reported in AZ,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said on Twitter, adding “now is the time to stay informed & be prepared.”

Arizona will be one of the first and only states that will be doing same-day testing for the virus, according to an interview Christ did with KTAR Friday. A day earlier, ADHS released a statement that the agency is preparing to respond to additional cases in the state

Arizona has only had one confirmed case of the virus so far. But the most recently confirmed case by the CDC was in neighboring California. 

So what does Christ recommend Arizonans do to protect themselves? 

For starters, practice good hygiene. 

“Most of us know ways to prevent or slow the spread of viruses, but now is a great time for a reminder,” Christ said. “WASH YOUR HANDS.” 

Researchers in London have estimated that around a million deaths a year could be prevented if more people washed their hands, as it is one of the quickest ways for diseases and viruses to spread. 

Christ also recommended people stop touching their faces, avoid being around sick people and stay home if they are sick to avoid spreading illnesses to others. People who are ill should also cover their mouths when they cough to avoid spreading sicknesses. 

coronavirus COVID-19
A 3D model of COVID-19, the virus causing the coronavirus. Photo by NIAID-RML | Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Disinfecting is helpful to limit exposure to coronavirus, Christ suggested. 

Christ said that as more cases may begin appearing in Arizona, ADHS will begin working with business leaders to encourage “social distancing.” 

“This could include encouraging teleworking and reducing or canceling mass gatherings,” Christ said. The idea being that this would limit the number of people to possibly be exposed thus reducing the number of possible new cases. 

She also recommended that anyone who has recently traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea and has developed a fever with cough or shortness of breath stay home and call their healthcare provider immediately. 

All those countries are currently under a level-2 travel advisory due to the coronavirus.

Christ also suggested that those who need to be seen at a hospital emergency room or urgent care that call ahead and tell them about any recent travel, as well as your symptoms. Those people should also tell health care providers about any respiratory problems they may have and wear a mask during the visit. Most doctor’s offices have supplies of them. 

Lastly, she suggested that anyone looking for additional information on coronavirus be careful of where they get it. ADHS has set up a special web page with information, and the CDC also has one dedicated to the virus. 

Misinformation has already been plentiful with organizations doing their best to get ahead of information that could lead to more people getting sick.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.