By PRT Staff

The Patagonia Regional Times is aware that in this unprecedented environment our readers are looking for up-to-date and reliable information regarding the coronavirus pandemic. As part of our commitment to bring you relevant and important local news you need, the PRT will update this page daily as we receive new information. Save this link in your bookmarks: www.patagoniaregionaltimes.org/coronavirus2020

Daily Updates:

June 3, 2020 Santa Cruz County Has the Third Highest Rate of Infection per Capita in the State.

Santa Cruz County now has the third highest rate of infection at 823.9 per 100,000 population in the state, only after Apache and Navajo counties. It is now considered a hot spot in the state.

On June 2 Reuters reported Arizona had the highest percent increase in new cases last week, when compared to the other 49 states and Washington, D.C.

Data as of June 4, 2020 6:30 p.m.*No.Confirmed Cases by Zip Code*No.
Total Confirmed Cases by County527Elgin1-5
Total Tests Conducted1649Sonoita0
Total Recovered199Patagonia1-5
Total Men240Nogales243
Total Women220Rio Rico183
Hospitalized7Tubac1-5
Deaths3Total Cases @State Dept. Dashboard to correlate with Zip code mapping462
Rate of Cases/per 100,000 population869.1
*NOTE: There are lags in data, 4-7 days in the zip code mapping and testing
Daily updated data from Dept of Health Santa Cruz County, AZ and State Health Dept. Data Dashboard. Have questions? Email us at prtasted@gmail.com

May 29, 2020: The State Dept Dashboard has updated SC county’s cases to 262 total cases, of which 154 cases are in Nogales and 102 in Rio Rico. Patagonia, Elgin and Tubac remain at 1-5 cases. 101 people have recovered and 5 people have been hospitalized. We continue to have one of the highest rate of infection in the state, at 492.8 per 100,000 population.

There is still limited testing in our county and the rise in cases is not a reflection of more testing but of the virus spreading throughout the community, said Dr. Eladio Periera the Chief Medical Officer at Mariposa Community Health Center.

He explained that the main reason the virus is spreading rapidly is because people are not taking the precautionary measures of social distancing and wearing a mask in public. Mariposa expects more testing kits in the next few weeks, around 500 more tests per week for a total of 3500 tests. The testing will be reserved for those who have symptoms or have been around those with symptoms. They also intend to use their tests for essential workers like police, first responders, and produce warehouse workers. Periera said, “we need to take this (COVID-19) seriously.”

Follow Confirmed Cases in Arizona
A PSA from local elected officials in response to the alarming rate of infection in the county. May 25, 2020
May 20, 2020: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE from Santa Cruz County Dept. of Health Services:

As of today, Santa Cruz County has 126 positive cases of COVID-19, with only 56 cases recovered.  This is a 66 % increase in cases since Sunday, May 17th, only 4 days ago. Please be aware the virus is now being spread throughout the community.  If you must go out, please limit your outings only to those outings that are necessary, practice social distancing, wear masks in public and please stay home if you are having symptoms or are feeling sick.

El día de hoy, el Condado de Santa Cruz tiene 126 casos positivos de COVID-19, con solo 56 casos recuperados. Este es un aumento en los casos del 66% desde el domingo 17 de mayo, hace solo 4 días. Tenga en cuenta que el virus se está propagando por toda la comunidad. Si su salida es urgente o de suma importancia, practique el distanciamiento social, use mascarillas en público y quédese en casa si tiene síntomas o se siente enfermo.

May 15, 2020: Top Stories from May E-Newsletter
May 12, 2020: Case Count in Eastern Santa Cruz County Remains Unclear
May 1, 2020: Only one confirmed case in Elgin zip code 85611 according the county. The four cases below, as of 10 a.m., not accounted for in the state zip code map or county case total.
April 30, 2020: Family of Four tests Positive in Sonoita release Anonymous Statement

From Clare Bonelli’s community newsletter:

“(We) would like to remain anonymous but would like the community to know.
Our family would like to share with the community the fact that we are local and have tested positive for Covid. We have absolutely no clue where we got it since we have been taking all (and extra) precautions not to get it being we have an at-risk member in our family.
We, unfortunately, have quickly learned that this is a very sneaky virus. Our closest friends have been notified. We want the community to know that Covid is here and do not want it to be a big secret. Please take extra precautions and protect yourselves!”

April 30, 2020: Arizona Testing Blitz Starting this weekend, May 2
From State Dept. of Health Services

The Arizona Testing Blitz aims to test 10,000-20,000 Arizonans for COVID-19 every Saturday for three consecutive weeks, beginning Saturday, May 2, 2020.  As of now there are no testing sites in Santa Cruz county.

As part of the Arizona Testing Blitz, drive-through or onsite testing will be available at various locations across the state. Arizonans can find the nearest testing location and hours of operation as well as pre-register by visiting azhealth.gov/TestingBlitz. Testing will be available to anyone who thinks they have been exposed to and could be infected with COVID-19 and will be based on criteria set by each testing site. 

April 29, 2020: PRT May issue is LIVE. Top Stories:

1. The New Normal for Local Healthcare Workers
2. Schools Rising to the Challenge Of Distance Learning
3. Vaccines – A Short History
4. Food Bank Seeing More Fresh Produce…For Now
5. Fairgrounds Events Curtailed by Shutdown

Data on COVID-19 Cases in Santa Cruz County, AZ, Updated Daily
April 27, 2020: 31st Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County.

As of April 28th zip code data remains the same as reported below.

April 25, 2020: 29th & 30th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County.

Based on the zip code map on the state Dept. of Health Services Nogales zip code has 11 confirmed cases, Rio Rico zip code 18 confirmed cases and Patagonia zip code 1-5 confirmed cases.

April 23, 2020: The State Updates Standing Order and Expands Testing for COVID-19
  • Today, we issued updated standing orders, expanding the criteria for testing to anyone who thinks they have been exposed to and could be infected with COVID-19. Previously, this order was limited to high-risk individuals and those with specific symptoms;
  • We have partnered with laboratories, such as Sonora Quest Laboratories, TGen, and the University of Arizona to provide additional funding to increase their lab capacity and will continue to work with other partner labs, as needed;
  • We have sent out messaging to labs statewide to remove any restrictions on testing if they have adequate testing supplies and PPE;
  • We continue to communicate with healthcare providers about expanding testing to all Arizonans; and
  • We have distributed 15 rapid testing machines throughout the state that are able to provide results within 15 minutes and we continue to work with our federal partners to get additional testing kits to support these machines.
April 22, 2020: 28th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County
April 22, 2020: 24-27th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County

Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The state zip code data shows an increase in Rio Rico zip code to 18 confirmed cases. Nogales zip code remains at 6-10 cases as does Patagonia’s zip code remains at 1-5 cases.

April 20, 2020: State Health Dept launches new website, data shows that Nogales zipcode 85621 has increased to 6-10 confirmed cases and Rio Rico zip code 85648 has increased to 11 confirmed cases. https://www.azdhs.gov/
April 20, 2020: 20-23rd Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County
April 19, 2020: 17th, 18th and 19th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County
April 17, 2020: Lending Shed Needs Donations of Pull-ups for Seniors
April 16, 2020: 15th & 16th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County
April 16, 2020: PRT April Mid Month Update – https://mailchi.mp/73e274837a95/aprilmidmonth-9255834

As of April 16, 2020, 1 p.m. there are 14 confirmed cases in the county. Based on the data released by Arizona Dept. of Health Services on April 16 there have been 1-5 cases reported from Nogales zip code, 1-5 cases from Patagonia zip code, and 6-10 cases reported from 85648 zip code which includes Rio Rico, Rio Rico Northeast and Tumacaceri-Carmen. This data is available and updated at the Arizona Dept. of Health website.

There have been a total of 129 tests in the county thus far. The SC county Dept. of Health reports that of the 14 positive cases seven have recovered and have been removed from isolation. None of the positive cases thus far have had to be hospitalized. Lastly, the local Mariposa clinic in Patagonia is conducting Covid-19 tests now though the criteria to receive a test remains strict.

April 15, 2020: State Releases more Data on COVID-19 Patients

“Today we added data to our COVID-19 dashboard that includes additional information about cases and deaths, as well as information about the health of our healthcare system in Arizona. The dashboard now has case counts broken down by zip code and more detailed demographic information about cases and deaths in our state. Data about the capacity of our healthcare system in Arizona has also been added to the dashboard.”

April 15, 2020: 14th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County
April 15, 2020: 13th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Health Services has received notification of another confirmed case of COVID-19.  Bringing the total confirmed case count in Santa Cruz County to thirteen (13) cases.

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission. Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

April 14, 2020: 11th & 12th Case Confirmed in Santa Cruz County

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission.  Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

April 14, 2020: Community Transmission Present In Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Health Services has received notification of another confirmed case of COVID-19. Bringing the total confirmed case count in Santa Cruz County to twelve (12) cases.

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission. This is significant because according to the CDC, “community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed…People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with the level of risk dependent on the location.”

Please continue to adhere to the recommendations of social distancing, hand-washing and wearing a cloth mask.

April 14, 2020: The PRT has received confirmation from the Santa Cruz County Health Services that there was one confirmed positive case in the 85624 zip code area. “That case has fully recovered. There are currently no positive cases within the 85624 zip code,” said Shelly Jacobs the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. The PRT advises locals to continue to adhere to the county, state, and federal recommendations on strict social distancing, washing hands, and wearing a cloth mask.

Due to lack of testing in our county and CDC confirming that people can spread the virus without having any symptoms it is important we do not see this update as a reason to stop keeping the strict measures in place. No place is safe from the global pandemic but our choices can keep us and the community safe. The PRT will continue to follow this story.

April 13, 2020: Tenth Confirmed Case in SCC county

Santa Cruz County Health Services has received notification of a tenth (10th) confirmed case of COVID-19.  Bringing the total confirmed case count in Santa Cruz County to ten (10) cases.

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission.  Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

April 12, 2020: The State Releases Data on COVID-19 Cases by Zip Code

According to the data on this map Patagonia has 1-5 confirmed cases, Sonoita has 0, Elgin 0. Nogales & Rio Rico also have 1-5 confirmed cases. Please note: If a patient’s address of residence is unknown cases were mapped to the address of the provider followed by the address of the reporting facility. 

Screenshot from AZ Health Dept. Map of COVID-19 cases by Zip Code. Highlighted area is Patagonia zipcode 85624
April 12, 2020: 9th Confirmed Case o COVID-19 in SCC County

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission.  Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

April 10, 2020: 8th Confirmed Case o COVID-19 in SCC County

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission.  Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

April 10, 2020: Seventh Confirmed Case o COVID-19 in SCC County

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission.  Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

April 10, 2020: County / State Still Not Divulging Location of COVID Patients in SCC Despite New Executive Order
April 9, 2020: SCFPA New Show on KPUP 100.5
April 9, 2020: Arizona Receives Approval For Online SNAP Purchases From USDA
April 8, 2020: 6th confirmed case in Santa Cruz County.

At this time Santa Cruz County has identified evidence of community transmission.  Please take adequate precautions if you leave your home and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

April 7, 2020 New executive order by Gov. Ducey increases restrictions on certain out of state travelers
Local Group Sews Masks for Hospital
Contributed photo

Sandy Wolf and her husband Loren Krebs of Sonoita met Marge Kelly at Holy Cross Hospital on Friday, April 3 to deliver the first installment of about 80 face masks made by Crossroads Quilters.

April 6, 2020: Fifth Confirmed case in Santa Cruz County
April 3, 2020 Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission

“It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

April 3, 2020: Governor Doug Ducey announces barbershops, hair, nail & tanning salons, tattoo parlors, spas and massage parlors must close by 5 p.m. tomorrow. In addition amenities at public parks that do not allow for recommended physical distancing or proper hygiene such as basketball courts, splash pads, playgrounds and public restrooms but public parks shall remain open to the greatest extent possible. Communal pools such as those at hotels, condominiums, apartment complexes and parks, however, these should still be maintained under environmental and public health rules and guidelines. Swap meets. Read more: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/04/additional-guidance-essential-services

April 3, 2020 Fourth Confirmed Case in SCC County

“Santa Cruz County Health Services has received notification of a fourth (4th) confirmed case of COVID-19. After receiving notification, the Department of Health Services staff began their investigation immediately. The investigation found that the person had traveled to an area where community transmission is present. The person is recovering well at home. The case brings the total number of confirmed cases in Santa Cruz County to four (4). The previous three (3) positive cases have fully recovered.”

March 31, 2020 Third Confirmed Case in SCC County

“Santa Cruz County Health Services has received notification of a third (3rd) confirmed case of COVID-19. After receiving notification Department of Health Services staff began their investigation immediately. The investigation found that the person had traveled to an area where community transmission is present. The person is recovering well at home.”

March 31, 2020: Sonoita Races Cancelled
March 30, 2020 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected”

“At the recommendation of public health officials, I’m issuing an Executive Order for Arizonans to stay home while encouraging alternative ways to stay connected with friends and loved ones.” Gov Ducey

March 30, 2020 Gov. Doug Ducey announces School Closure for remainder of the school year
March 28, 2020 Tucson Closes All Non Essential Services

“Businesses that are not on te state list of ‘essential services’ must close in Tucson due to the continuing spread of coronavirus, Mayor Regina Romero ordered, further advising residents to remain at home and that nail salons and barber shops should shut down. The closure order affects businesses as varied as general retail shops, many service businesses and various call centers. Take-out and delivery service from restaurants will still be allowed. The order takes effect at 8 a.m. Saturday and will last through at least April 17.”

March 28, 2020 Recycling Closed in Patagonia
Recycling Trailers in Patagonia. Photo by Robert Gay

Citing the risk of spreading the coronavirus, Santa Cruz County’s Landfill Director, Jerry Montoya, announced to Patagonia Town Manager Ron Robinson that the town’s recycling trailers would be removed from behind the post office on Friday, March 27 and moved to the town’s chipper yard where they will be unavailable for recycling until further notice.

March 27, 2020 COVID-19 in Arizona: Coronavirus now ‘widespread,’ could peak in late April. From Cronkite News Phoenix.

The spread of COVID-19 in Arizona communities rose from “moderate” to “widespread” on Thursday, meaning there were confirmed cases in 13 of the state’s 15 counties, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Gila and Greenlee were the two counties without confirmed cases. Maricopa County leads the state with 299 confirmed cases. COVID-19 cases are expected to peak by the end of April, with peak hospitalization occurring in May, state health officials said Wednesday. “Arizona is still in the opening stages of its COVID-19 outbreak, and the number of cases within the state will increase significantly,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS, said in the briefing.

March 26, 2020: Jeff Terrell, Director of Environmental Health Services said that there are three locations in the county with test kits available. Mariposa Community Health Center, Holy Cross Hospital and Nextcare Urgent Care. The county is looking for more tests and there is a nationwide shortage. They are planning to set up a drive through testing site, as has been done in other cities around the country, but there is no timeline for when it will be ready. In the meantime, he said, everyone should be practicing the recommendations of washing hands, wiping areas more frequently and social distancing.

March 25, 2020: Mayors ‘flabbergasted’ at list of services Ducey order would protect From Cronkite News Phoenix.
March 25, 2020: Jobless claims jump 3 million in a week, Arizona mirrors national trend. From Cronkite News Phoenix.
March 25, 2020: Local Mariposa Clinic Response to Covid-19
AZ Public Health Lab Testing Matrix

The strict criteria to receive a test at Mariposa Community Health Center is largely based on Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations. If a person has a fever, cough, shortness of breath in combination with a known significant exposure to someone who has a documented case of covid-19; someone who has symptoms and works in a high-risk profession such as medical worker, grocery store cashier, jail guard and someone who is living in a nursing home and/or jail they will be tested. 

Akido Labs logoCOVIDASSESSMENT
When should I get care for COVID-19? Take our CDC based assessment to find out.
COVID-19 Self Assessment

Do you think you or a family member may have been exposed? Based on CDC recommendations, the University of Southern California’s Gehr Center and Akido Labs has developed an online assessment tool, which will help determine what to do if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed.

Take the assessment on covidassessment.org >

According to Dr. Anderson, who works at the Patagonia clinic, as of March 25 there has been one person tested from the Patagonia site and the test results are pending. At the Nogales offices approximately a dozen people have been tested and so far all those have come back negative. Read more

March 25,2020 Second confirmed case in SC County

Santa Cruz County Health Services has received notification of a second (2nd) confirmed case ofCOVID-19. Santa Cruz County Health Services is currently investigating to identify any closecontacts that may have been exposed while the person was infectious. Any individuals who mayhave been identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly. These individuals willreceive recommendation to self-isolate and self-monitor for any fever and respiratory symptomsper CDC guidelines. The case brings the total number of confirmed cases in Santa Cruz County totwo (2).

March 24, 2020: Gov. Doug Ducey Issues a Proclamation Prohibiting the Closure of Essential Services during the COVID-19 Response. Read the Proclamation here.
 March 23, 2020 AZ 2-1-1 Funded as Hotline for COVID-19 Response

The funding provided allows the 2-1-1 system to be up and running for a year.  They will be focusing on the COVID-19 response with live individuals available to answer calls in these first few weeks, but they are working to train additional staff to begin to handle other inquiries.  

March 21, 2020 Santa Cruz County Declares State of Emergency
March 20, 2020 County website for Coronavirus
March 20, 2020 COVID-19 Hotline

A COVID-19 hotline has been set up to answer any questions from the public and healthcare providers about testing, symptoms, and any other questions you have about the virus.

Call 1-844-542-8201 to reach a health care professional.
March 20, 2020 Updates from the County
By Marion Vendituoli

Results from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to confirm the one presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Santa Cruz County should be available by the next meeting of the Santa Cruz County (SCC) Board of Supervisors on Monday, March 23, according to District 3 Supervisor Bruce Bracker. If, as suspected, the case is confirmed, the Board will likely vote to declare a countywide state of emergency, which could mandate the closing of restaurants and bars, except for take-out orders, as well as the closing of movie theatres and gyms.

Bracker also pointed out that small business disasterloans are now available in all counties in the state. Previously, he said, thiswas only available to the northern counties of Arizona. Bracker recommendedthat residents visit www.santacruzcountyaz.gov for information related to the county’s response to thecoronavirus crisis.

Executive actions taken by Gov. Doug Ducey, as of March 19, also include the halting of all elective surgeries in order to free up medical resources, and the delaying of expiration dates on AZ driver licenses for all residents over the age of 65, so that this more vulnerable population will not need to visit the DMV during this crisis.

Ducey has also called up the National Guard to help in the distribution of food from warehouses to food stores and to food banks.“Across the board, the food chain supply has been challenged,” said Ray Sayre, Director of Emergency Management for Santa Cruz County. He pointed out that there is no shortage of food items in the warehouse, but that empty shelves at local stores are due to people buying more than they need. “There’s no reason to buy 1000 roles of toilet paper,” he said. “Buy what you need.”

He also said that, due to the shutting the border, which will go into effect Saturday morning, many residents of Sonora have been flooding stores in Nogales to stock up.

Sayer emphasized that rumors that the National Guard was being deployed to establish martial law are false rumors being spread on social media.  “We’re getting swamped by rumors and fake sites,” he said. He urged readers to only visit trusted sites for coronavirus information, as fake websites are popping up that contain computer viruses. He recommended the Arizona Emergency Information Network, which can be found at www.ein.az.gov, and to follow the CDC website, www.cdc.gov.

March 20, 2020: Santa Cruz County Health Services Director Jeff Terrell confirmed that there is one presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Santa Cruz County. On the advice of the County Attorney, they are not releasing information about the location or residence of the patient, but he did confirm that the patient is a resident of Santa Cruz County. There are no other presumptive or confirmed cases in the county at this time.
Note: “According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a presumptive positive result is when a patient has tested positive by a local public health laboratory, but results are still pending confirmation at a CDC lab.”

March 19, 2020: First Case of Coronavirus in Santa Cruz County

The Arizona Poison Control System is available to answer questions about COVID-19 from Arizona providers (for testing, patient guidance) and the general public (for testing, isolation, quarantine): 1-844-542-8201