SUBSCRIBE NOW

Arizona coronavirus cases rise to 234, 1st death reported in Pima County

Rachel Leingang
Arizona Republic

Arizona now has 234 identified cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and Pima County reported its first death.

Since Friday, three deaths from the disease have been announced in the state.

A woman in her 50s with underlying health conditions that may have put her at higher risk was confirmed to have had COVID-19 via a positive lab report on Monday evening, Pima County said in a news release.

“We express our deepest condolences to this person’s loved ones and family members,” Dr. Bob England, Pima County Health Department director, said in the statement. “COVID-19 is a dangerous disease that can be fatal and is especially serious for those with underlying health conditions, no matter their age. There will be more cases of COVID-19 in Pima County, and there will be more deaths. Please take recommended precautions to slow the spread.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported the second death tied to the coronavirus on Sunday. The first was reported Friday night. Of the two Maricopa County men who died, one was in his 70s with underlying health conditions, and one was in his 50s with underlying health conditions.

The department's website first showed 235 identified cases Monday but was updated about 90 minutes later to show 234.

The total number of identified cases represents an increase of 54% from Sunday. 

On Sunday, the department reported 152 total identified cases, an increase of 48 cases from the day before.

The number of cases is likely much higher than official numbers suggest. People have reported trouble getting tested, as health professionals confront confusion over who to test and a lack of supplies.

The state health department's publicly reported numbers only provide positive test results from private labs, not the total number of people tested, leaving the online data incomplete.

The entry of private labs into testing appears to be helping the state identify cases, as the majority of reported positive cases are coming from private labs. Of the 235 identified cases, 193 were reported by private labs while 41 came from the state lab.

A majority of Arizona's identified cases were in Maricopa County, with a total of 139 Monday, according to data on the state health department's website.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health provides a breakdown of its 139 cases on its website. Here's what that shows:

  • The majority of the cases, 81, are male.
  • The age group with the highest percentage of cases, at 37%, is people aged 18 to 40 years old.
  • People aged 41 to 65 make up 33% of cases, and those aged 66 and over are 30%. 
  • Of the 139 cases, 25 are hospitalized. 
  • Seven are in the intensive care unit. 

Navajo County had 25 identified cases, Pima County had 24 cases, Pinal County had 17 and Coconino County had 17, according to state data. Apache County had four cases and Yavapai County had three cases. Graham County had two. Yuma, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties each had one.

No cases had been identified in Mohave, La Paz, Greenlee and Gila counties as of Monday morning, the website showed.

On Monday, the Navajo Nation announced three more identified cases, bringing the total number to 29. These cases were identified in Navajo County and Apache County in Arizona, as well as San Juan and McKinley County in New Mexico, a press release says.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez put in place a “stay at home” order, which requires all residents of the Navajo Nation to remain home and closes non-essential businesses.

“To prevent a massive public health crisis, every person must remain home,” Nez said in a press release. “The fact is that the number of positive tests is growing. We know some may need food, medicine, or other essential items, but beyond that we shouldn’t have anyone traveling or going out into the public. This includes public gatherings and meetings.”

First responders are delivering care packages to residents of Chilchinbeto, in Navajo County, Arizona, previously identified as a hot zone for the virus.

Reach reporter Rachel Leingang by email at rachel.leingang@gannett.com or by phone at 602-444-8157, or find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.