At the University of Arizona, our faculty experts are working closely with regional health providers, first responders, and government officials to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and provide education, research, and public health expertise to support our community and our partners around the globe.
To that end, we have developed this page to address three major areas of concern. In addition to frequently asked questions and resources from our researchers across campus, we hosted a series of webinars addressing each of these major topics.
First, from a public health perspective, we shared the best practices in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Then, from a medical perspective, we explained the symptoms and treatments of COVID-19. Finally, we shared an integrative medicine approach to this outbreak. Recordings of each session are available below.
April 1: COVID-19 Webinar Series: Prevention
April 3: COVID-19 Webinar Series: Treatment and Diagnosis
April 7: COVID-19 Webinar Series: An Integrative Approach
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a newly discovered infectious strain of coronavirus. It has been introduced to humans for the first time and it was first identified in the city of Wuhan, China.
The virus is mainly spread through person to person contact (within 6 feet) when an infected person coughs or sneezes on another individual. These respiratory droplets can be inhaled by others or they can land in a person’s mouth or nose. Furthermore, droplets can remain on surfaces and individuals can become infected if they touch their hands to their mouth, eyes or nose.
People who become infected with the virus may experience mild to severe respiratory symptoms including:
- Dry Cough
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of sense of taste or smell
Symptoms may develop within 2-14 days after exposure, however many people may only experience mild cold-like symptoms, but are still equally contagious.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. If not available use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 70% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Cough and sneeze into a flexed elbow or a tissue.
- Social Distancing: avoid close contact with people (at least 6 feet) who are sneezing or coughing.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are commonly used by others (e.g., door handles).
- Quarantine: stay home (especially if you are ill or potentially exposed)
Limited laboratory tests are available to identify the COVID-19 virus. A nasal swab will be taken from an individual and run on a Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR machine. This test will detect the presence of genetic material specifically from the COVID-19 virus.
Call your primary care provider first to determine if in-person evaluation is needed and if testing is warranted. In addition, state and local health departments have issued phone lines for individuals to speak with healthcare team members. Patients who meet the criteria for in-person evaluation and testing will be given specific instructions on how to safely come to a local clinic or testing center.
If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath and your healthcare provider recommends managing your symptoms from home:
- Get rest and stay hydrated
- Eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Exercise regularly
- Take a multivitamin if you suspect your diet is not high in nutrients
- Note, the World Health Organization (WHO) discourages the use of ibuprofen (ie. Motrin and Advil). While this is based on current observations only, it is recommended to use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help reduce fevers, aches and pain associated with coronavirus.
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Stay in touch with your doctor regarding any changes in symptoms
- Avoid public transportation and public areas
- Home Isolation: Separate yourself from others (e.g., create a “sick room”, avoid sharing personal items, etc.)
- Limit contact with pets and animals
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor or hospital (so preparations can be made)
- Wear a face mask
- Cover your cough and sneezes: use a tissue, dispose the tissue in a lined garbage can, and wash hands promptly
- Clean your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean all “high touch” surface areas every day (e.g., countertops and door handles)
- Monitor your symptoms. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency signs include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider immediately for any concerning symptoms and call 911 for medical emergencies.
- Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department
People who have been in home isolation can stop isolating under the following circumstances:
- If you will not be tested to verify that you are no longer contagious, you may leave your home if all three of the following criteria are met:
- You have not had a fever for 3 days (without the use of fever reducing medications)
- Respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath have improved
- 7 days have passed since the onset of symptoms
- If you will be tested to verify that you are no longer contagious, you must meet the following three criteria:
- You must receive two negative tests consecutively, at least 24 hours apart
- You have not had a fever for 72 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
- Respiratory symptoms such as of cough and shortness of breath have improved
- Monitor for emergency signs and worsening symptoms
- Have their healthcare provider’s contact information on hand
- For medical emergencies call 911 and notify the dispatcher that they have COVID-19
- Prevent the spread of germs
- Have the person stay in one room as much as possible
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Wash your hands with soap and water consistently for 20 seconds, especially after interacting with the sick person
- Avoid having unnecessary visitors
- Wash laundry thoroughly (the use of gloves is recommended to prevent contact with soiled clothing)
- Clean surfaces that are commonly used
- Provide symptom treatment
- Ensure sick person is well hydrated and rested
- Eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Provide over-the-counter medications (acetaminophen) if necessary
Current clinical expertise indicates that older adults (65 years or older) and individuals of any age with underlying medical conditions are at an increased risk of becoming sick from COVID-19. These medical conditions include:
- Lung disease (such as asthma and COPD)
- Heart disease (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Diabetes, inherited metabolic disorders or mitochondrial disorders
- Any condition that weakens the immune system (including cancer, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, HIV/AIDS, or immune weakening medications)
Currently there is no specific antiviral drug or vaccine available for the treatment of COVID-19. Clinical management consists of infection control and supportive care to manage symptoms. Most individuals with COVID-19 can provide self-care at home while in isolation.
If the disease becomes more severe and hospitalization if required for low oxygen levels, supportive care is necessary and treatments such as hydroxychloroquine or Remdesivir, an anti-viral, may be considered in the setting of a clinical trial. There are several treatments in trials now, so this area is quite fluid and subject to change.
Our hospital (BUMC) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and following specific guidelines to ensure the safety of its employees and patients. Banner Health has a phone line (1-844-549-1851) available for individuals to speak with a clinical team member if they are symptomatic or may have been exposed to COVID-19. If testing is warranted per CDC guidelines, individuals will be scheduled for an appointment at a drive-through testing site.