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Pima County and City of Tucson prepare for spread of COVID-19

Posted at 5:20 PM, Mar 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 20:43:44-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Cases are popping up around the country and public health officials recently announced a presumptive Covid-19 case in Pima County.

“It is going to be here, it will transmit locally, and we need to begin treating it in that way,” said Health Department Director Bob England. England stood with other health officials and members of Pima County and Tucson City government to brief the media today.

“We have a lot left to learn but there are a lot of good indications to treat this the same way we do influenza,” said England.

The city and county are urging people to use common sense health practices to protect themselves and loved ones. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and stay home when sick. Officials say local government employees won't be penalized for having to miss work.

“We have loosened up our policies for telecommuting so if one of our employees have a sick child exposed to the virus they can stay home with the young one so they don't go to school and potentially expose other children we will let that employee work from home if possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Elias

The city and county say they are preparing to stay operational with a lower available workforce.

England says the data right now shows children are less impacted by the coronavirus than adults and says a county wide school closure would most likely not be needed.

“That’s not like the flu I’m surprised by that, but I’ll take it because that makes it so we don't have to give closing schools a second thought,” said England.

Officials say they are not recommending any public events be cancelled, but they do urge vulnerable people to take extra precautions.

Watch the full news briefing in the player below: