By Aisha Sander
March 25, 2020
Screening Station outside Mariposa Clinic, Patagonia. Photo by Robert Gay

In Santa Cruz County one of the largest health care providers is the Mariposa Community Health Center (MCHC) which has offices in Nogales, Patagonia, Rio Rico and Tubac. They have instituted a series of changes in response to the virus.

Since March 17 the clinics have set up an entry area tent at all their locations where everyone is screened. People are asked questions about their travel history, any symptoms of fever or cold or if they have been around someone with symptoms to determine their potential to exposure to Covid-19.

If you have respiratory symptoms but no fever you will be asked to wear a mask before entering the clinic. If you have both fever and respiratory symptoms one of the nursing staff will evaluate you (outside) and if needed Dr. Anderson or Mr. Penniston will come outside and assess any patient who is showing signs of covid-19. If a care provider determines you fall within the criteria to receive a test they will recommend you go to Maripos in Nogales to get tested. 

Read the AZ Public Health Lab Testing Matrix.

The strict criteria to receive a test at MCHC 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. 

According to Dr. Anderson as of March 25 there has been one person tested who was screened at 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. 

MCHC has also decided to cancel all non-urgent appointments for people who are considered high risk (those who are elderly or immunocompromised) and is also offering telemedicine during this time. You can call (520) 281-1550 to make a tele-health appointment with a variety of providers.