This story will be frequently updated with outbreak-related news and links to other in-depth coverage.
8 a.m. March 23: Banner Health announced it has opened COVID-19 specimen collection sites. The drive-through locations in Arizona will see patients by appointment only, according to Banner Health. Those with concerns about COVID-19 symptoms or exposure can now call Banner Health at 1-844-549-18-51 to speak with a clinical team member to determine if testing is appropriate. The line will be staffed from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Friday.
If an individual meets CDC criteria for testing, they will be scheduled for an appointment at one of Banner’s new drive-through sites, according to Banner. There are three sites located in the Phoenix metropolitan area and one in Tucson. Several more are slated to open at a later date.
During a patient’s drive-through appointment, they will be asked to remain inside their vehicle. The patient will receive paperwork to complete. This includes a confirmation stating they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they agree to be tested and will self-isolate until Banner contacts them with their test results. After completing the paperwork, a Banner team member will swab inside their nose to collect a sample. This process takes 5-20 minutes, according to Banner. Once completed, the patient will be instructed to return home and isolate until they are contacted with their test results. Samples will be sent to Sonora Quest Laboratories for processing. Results will take roughly 3-5 days to return.
If test results are negative, the patient will be informed they can return to their normal daily routine if they are asymptomatic. It is recommended that they remain at home if they are still sick. While they may have tested negative for COVID-19, it is possible they have another illness that could spread to others. These patients are advised to manage symptoms at home and contact their primary care provider if they have any questions or concerns.
If the results are positive, Banner will notify the county and state health departments and provide the patient with next steps, which could include an additional quarantine period. Abiding by the quarantine period is extremely important to ensure the patient does not spread the virus to others.
9:07 a.m. March 22: The Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirmed the second death due to COVID-19 in Arizona. The individual was a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions, according to a news release. On March 22, according to Maricopa County, the number of COVID-19 cases was 81, up from 49 the day prior.
11:13 a.m. March 21: The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County is 49, up from 34 March 20, according to Maricopa County.
7:44 p.m. March 20: The Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirmed the first death due to COVID-19 in Arizona. The individual was a male in his 50s with underlying health conditions, according to a news release.
“We express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends grieving their loved one during this difficult time,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS Director in a news release. “COVID-19 is a serious disease that can be fatal in anyone, especially our elderly population and people with underlying health conditions. We expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, and there could be more deaths. It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to protect you and your family from this disease.”
5:18 p.m. March 20: The city of Chandler announced changes to some public services and the closure of several city facilities due to risks associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Chandler Center for the Arts – Closed through April 30. Box Office hours modified to Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Saturday.
- Chandler Museum – Closed through March 31.
- Chandler Public Libraries – Closed through March 31.
- Chandler Recreation Centers – Closed through March 31. Community Center, Environmental Education Center, Snedigar Recreation Center and Tumbleweed Recreation Center.
- Chandler Parks are open. However, all park restrooms are closed until further notice so that cleaning supplies and staff resources can be directed to other areas.
- Chandler Pools and Aquatic Centers – Closed through March 31st. The availability of Lap Swimming at select facilities will be re-evaluated as needed.
- Chandler Senior Center – Closed through March 31. The Senior Center will continue to provide carry out or delivery of hot meals to senior residents who depend on this service.
- Chandler Vision Gallery – Closed through March 31.
- Chandler Municipal Court is open, however, it is limiting court hearings to required in-person proceedings. Those hearings will be attended by parties, attorneys, victims, witnesses, jurors, court personnel and other necessary persons. This is necessary to maintain the recommended social distancing within the court facility. In an effort to reduce the number of court visitors, the Chandler Municipal Court is offering several methods to handle your case. You can do so by phone at 480-782-4700 or you may request an extension, continuance or payment plan online.
- The development services customer service counter for plan reviews and walk-in consultations will be by appointment only starting March 23. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 480-782-3000. If you need to drop off plans, a self-service area will be available within the lobby. Phone and online services, including as-builts and public records requests, are available.
- Fingerprinting service at the police department is unavailable at this time, pending daily review.
- Passports services are unavailable until March 27, pending daily review.
- The tax & license service counter is temporarily closed. Online, phone and email services as well as the payment drop box are available.
- The utility bill payment counter is temporarily closed. Online, phone and email services as well as the payment drop box are available.
In addition, Chandler City Council meetings will be closed to in-person attendance until further notice, according to the city. Residents are encouraged to watch live city council meetings on Cox Cable 11, CenturyLink Channel 8502, or streamed through the city’s website at chandleraz.gov/video or youtube.com/cityofchandler.
Residents may submit a public comment related to agenda items or unscheduled public appearances at chandleraz.gov/PublicComment. They must be submitted one hour before the meeting starts to be entered into the official record, according to the city.
All other Chandler facilities remain open, but residents are encouraged to use the city’s online services. The public is encouraged to not enter a city facility if they are feeling ill, experiencing a cough, fever or shortness of breath, according to the city.
5:10 p.m. March 20: In a series of tweets, Gov. Doug Ducey announced he is issuing an executive order to give people who are facing economic hardship from COVID-19 access to unemployment benefits. Ducey also said the Arizona Department of Revenue is extending the income tax deadline to July 15 to mirror the newly extended federal deadline.
3:15 p.m. March 20: Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced March 20 that Arizona schools will remain closed through April 10. Hoffman said in the announcement that requirements will be waived for state standardized testing and that the state is finalizing details with the federal government regarding the waiver. Hoffman also said the Department of Education is working with education leaders to provide guidance about graduation in the near future. Ducey said he is ready to sign a bill that would assure teacher and staff pay will not be interrupted. He also said the state is teaming with nonprofit, faith-based and business communities to make childcare available for those in need, but noted that the best place for them is at home. A list of providers is available on azed.gov. Ducey also said children should not be cared for by elderly adults or those with underlying conditions.
2:08 p.m. March 20: Chandler Municipal Court is limiting court hearings to required in-person proceedings. Those hearings will be attended by parties, attorneys, victims, witnesses, jurors, court personnel, and other necessary persons, according to the city website. In an effort to reduce the number of court visitors, the Chandler Municipal Court is offering several methods to handle your case. You can do so by phone at 480-782-4700 or you may request an extension, continuance or payment plan online.
2 p.m. March 20: Chandler USD announced March 20 it will expand to offering curbside meals for students at five school sites—Andersen Junior High, Willis Junior High, Perry High, Chandler High and Hamilton High schools. Meals are available from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:51 p.m. March 20: Waymo has suspended all Waymo One rider services in Arizona until April 7, the company announced, including service with trained drivers and the company's fully driverless operations within the early rider program. All driving operations in other locations also remain suspended for now, along with local delivery and truck testing, according to the company.
12:39 p.m. March 20: Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke announced in a video posted on social media that the Chandler Museum and Vision Gallery will close March 21 through the end of the month.
9:44 a.m. March 20: There are now 34 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Maricopa County, according to the county website. That number is up from 22 March 19.
5:54 p.m. March 19: PayPal confirmed a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 out of its Chandler office March 19.
"We are treating the employee situation at our Chandler office as presumed positive case of COVID-19," a PayPal spokesperson said in an email. "To protect employee health and well-being, we’ve sent staff home and closed the office location. During this closure, the potentially affected office premises will be sanitized and disinfected in accordance with health guidelines. PayPal will also conduct contact tracing to minimize potential impact. We will continue to follow the guidance provided by local health departments and regulators in prioritizing the health and safety of our employees and the community."
The Chandler PayPal office is located at 3000 One Payment Way. According to the city of Chandler economic development webpage, PayPal's Chandler office has more than 1,600 employees.
5:13 p.m. March 19: Gov. Doug Ducey announced in a series of tweets that he is activating the National Guard to assist grocery stores and food banks, in addition to issuing an executive order halting elective surgeries in the state to free up medical resources. Gov. Ducey also issued an executive order that requires restaurants in counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19 to provide dine-out options only and closes bars, movie theaters and gyms—restaurants will be allowed to deliver alcoholic beverages with a food purchase. The order takes effect close of business March 20. This will affect Maricopa County, as the county has 22 confirmed cases. He also issued an executive order to delay expiration dates on Arizona driver licenses, "ensuring residents over the age of 65 do not need to visit Motor Vehicle Division offices to renew their driver licenses during the public health emergency," according to the governor's website.
4:20 p.m. March 19: Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke signed an emergency declaration proclaiming a local emergency in response to COVID-19 March 19, according to the city.
This declaration follows the state of emergencies that have been declared by the president, governor and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. According to a news release from the city, this declaration gives the mayor and council the authority to "impose necessary regulations to further preserve the order and safety of the city, its residents and customers."
As part of this declaration, all Chandler residents are ordered to adhere to the CDC guidelines to further prevent the spread of the virus. This includes:
- Practice social distancing in public gathering places and businesses where groups are in excess of 10 people;
- Wash your hands frequently, practice good hygiene and frequently disinfect;
- Avoid contact with those with elevated risks associated with COVID-19;
- Stay home and contact a medical provider if you or others in your household are sick or start to experience symptoms of COVID-19.
"As a community, we need to protect our most vulnerable and at-risk population, and following these guidelines will help do our part," read the news release from the city.
Businesses are "urged to operate responsibly by following the CDC guidelines," according to the release. Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, retail food facilities and other similar businesses or establishments are strongly encouraged to take measures to increase the use of delivery service, window service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, and to use precautions in doing so to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
When applicable, businesses also are urged to set limits on the purchase of essential items per household, according to the release. In addition, businesses and residents with gatherings of 10 people or more are implored to implement social distancing and follow CDC recommendations. This includes public places such as gyms, bars and clubs.
Residents are also asked to support local businesses and utilize delivery or take-out services when possible.
As of March 19, Chandler has temporarily closed four libraries, four recreation centers, senior center and six aquatic centers and pools to the public through March 31. All special events on city property through April 30 have been postponed or canceled to help stop the spread of the virus.
"City officials will continue to monitor the impact of these closures and the need for further restrictions to keep our residents, businesses and employees safe," read the release.
2:02 p.m. March 19: The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maricopa County is 22 as of March 19, according to Maricopa County officials. On March 18, the reported number of confirmed cases was 11.
12:41 p.m. March 19: The U.S. Small Business Administration approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Arizona to help small businesses in the state impacted by COVID-19. Individual businesses can be eligible for up to $2 million through the program.
Gov. Doug Ducey requested the economic assistance, which is made available through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act signed by President Trump on March 6.
The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of COVID-19’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Arizona businesses impacted by COVID-19 may apply for the loan through a portal on the SBA website.
5:36 p.m. March 18: Chandler officials announced March 18 libraries and recreation centers in the city will close through March 31. Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke and the City Council authorized changes to public services and the closure of several city facilities due to the risks associated with coronavirus.
- All Chandler public libraries will close to the public beginning March 19 and will remain closed through March 31
- The following recreation facilities will close to the public beginning March 21 and will remain closed through March 31:
- four recreation centers: Community Center, Environmental Education Center, Snedigar Recreation Center and Tumbleweed Recreation Center;
- Chandler pools and aquatic centers;
- the Chandler Senior Center will close but will continue to provide carryout or delivery of hot meals to senior residents who are dependent on the service; and
- city officials say the closures will be re-evaluated later this month and may be extended.
In a video message posted on social media, Hartke said the city is encouraging businesses to "run their operations responsibly."
"We implore businesses that have gatherings of 10 or more people to operate according to CDC recommendations," Hartke said in the video. "Our business community needs our support now more than ever, and I encourage residents to continue patronizing local restaurants by utilizing pickup and drive-thru options and practicing safe distancing. Let's work together to help flatten the curve."
Hartke said the city will continue to monitor the situation daily.
4 p.m. March 18: The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman signed a proclamation of a local emergency in Maricopa County March 18, according to a statement from the county. The proclamation of a local emergency will grant the county access to additional resources, according to the statement from the county.
During this local emergency, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will have the authority to impose "all necessary regulations to preserve the peace and order of Maricopa County," according to the county.
“The County is following guidelines set by Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to protect the safety of our community and residents,” Chairman Clint Hickman said in a statement. “This proclamation helps us get funding and supplies to the responders on the front line.”
As of March 18, Maricopa County had 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19
8:27 p.m. March 17: Gila River Gaming Enterprises, Inc. announced March 17 it will temporarily close Gila River Hotels & Casinos including Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva. The decision was announced after heightened concern surrounding the coronavirus.The closure will be begin at all three properties at 4 a.m. March 18 and will be in place for two weeks.
Guests currently staying at hotel properties will be contacted for relocation or refunds, according to a news release.
10:56 a.m. March 17: The Arizona Department of Health announced March 17 guidance for restaurants, dining establishments and bars.
"ADHS strongly recommends dining establishments in areas of known community spread discourage dine-in traffic and instead provide curbside pick up/drive through service. Restaurants should establish protocols that allow food delivered to cars," read a tweet from the Arizona Department of Health. "If dine-in options are provided, social distancing measures should be implemented, providing space for customers to be placed at least 6 feet apart, and limiting space for customers to congregate in areas of the restaurant."
Some Chandler restaurants and businesses have already taken precautions in line with this guidance, according to their social media pages.