Phoenix officials and managers in the metropolis’s Aviation Department first learned that an aviation worker had COVID-19 when the Maricopa County Department of Public Health called to inform them of that several days after the man had died.

On March 17, the worker’s family notified the aviation department that the man had died. On March 20, the health department notified the metropolis that the man died of COVID-19 caused by the original coronavirus.

In the wake of this news, the metropolis and aviation department scrambled to inform coworkers and shut contacts that they may have been exposed to the virus, as effectively as to publicly acknowledge that Arizona’s first coronavirus sufferer was a metropolis worker.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is releasing no additional information about the county’s first COVID-19 death, including how the man may have contracted the original coronavirus, when he was tested or how prolonged it took to receive results.

However the situation highlights the presence of community spread in Maricopa County and the need for folks to act as if anyone they approach in contact with may have the virus and exercise social distancing and other strategies to forestall its spread. 

Timeline of the response to the death

The Arizona Department of Health Products and providers and Maricopa County Department of Public Health first released the news of Arizona’s first COVID-19 death in a joint statement on Friday, March 20. It described the sufferer as in his 50s with underlying health prerequisites.

Nearly two hours later, the metropolis publicly acknowledged that the man was employed by the aviation department.

He worked in the Aviation Administration building on Buckeye Road, no longer at Sky Harbor Airport itself. The administration building is no longer linked to the terminals and staff there achieve no longer have daily interaction with the traveling public.

For privacy reasons, the metropolis can’t declare the exact day the man last worked at the workplace but did say he had no longer been in the workplace for more than a week. Julie Watters, a spokesperson for the metropolis, said the aviation department was no longer informed that the man  was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 nor that he was being tested for coronavirus. Watters said the metropolis learned from his family he had passed away on March 17.

Watters told The Arizona Republic that the first notification that the worker tested determined for the viruscame when the county health department contacted the metropolis at 4: 30 p.m. Friday, March 20. 

By 7 p.m., the joint statement from the Arizona Department of Health Products and providers and Maricopa County Department of Public Health went out notifying the public about the first COVID-19 death in Arizona.

A half hour later aviation department management began notifying staff it knew had been in shut contact with the deceased worker, Watters said.

At 8: 20 p.m., Phoenix Metropolis Manager Ed Zuercher sent an email notifying the metropolis’s  15,000 staff about the situation. Staff also acquired alerts by textual order message.

At 8: 50 p.m., the metropolis confirmed publicly that the sufferer was an aviation worker.

On Saturday morning, aviation management ordered a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of aviation facilities and the administrative building. Watters said many aviation department staff are teleworking, and management strongly encouraged “all other staff to exercise teleworking alternatives as soon as that you can think of.”

What’s subsequent for aviation staff

More than 300 staff work in the Aviation Administration building, which has three flooring. Watters said it is reasonable to deem the man may have approach in contact with a few dozen other staff. 

The general public health department is notifying man’s shut contacts, providing information about the virus and asking them to monitor for symptoms. In the event that they have symptoms, they are asked to contact their health-care supplier. 

Sonia Singh, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, declined to present additional details about the man’s death. 

“We all know we have community spread of COVID-19 in Maricopa County. Therefore, we want to think about this care for how we think about flu — that there are other folks obtainable who have it all over the county, and whether or no longer they’ve been confirmed by a lab check or no longer, we are all seemingly to be exposed,” Singh told The Republic. 

COVID-19 symptoms and precautions

Signs of COVID-19 include fever, cough, runny nostril and inconvenience breathing. It is miles believed that symptoms can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after publicity to the virus.

Here are recommendations from the Maricopa Department of Public Health about how to decrease your chances of contracting the virus:

  • Wash your hands normally with soap and water for 20 seconds to rid them of germs picked up by touching surfaces that may have been exposed via an infected person’s sneezes or coughs.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nostril and mouth. This keeps germs in your hands from entering your physique.
  • Avoid these that are in sorrowful health.
  • Avoid teams of 10 other folks or more.
  • Stay home whenever you are in sorrowful health so you achieve no longer expose others.
  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact with others.

You can join with Arizona Republic User Travel Reporter Melissa Yeager at [email protected] You can also discover her on Twitter and Instagram. 

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