By Aisha Sander

Santa Cruz County has one of the highest rates of infection in the state, at 82.4 per 10,000 population, (as of 6/3) only behind Navajo and Apache Counties. There have been five addi- tional hospitalizations in May. The first death of a 65 yr old male was reported on June 1.

The rise in the cases is not a reflection of more testing. As of June 3, only 3.4% of the county’s population has been tested. The virus is rapidly spreading throughout the community, according to Dr. Eladio Periera the Chief Medical Officer at Mariposa Community Health Center (MCHC), because people are not taking the pre- cautionary measures of social distancing and wearing a mask in public.

The county has done 1461 PCR swab tests and 142 serology (antibody) tests (as of 6/3). Serology tests are being conducted at Nextcare Urgentcare in Nogales. The Director of Health Services at the county, Jeff Terrell, clarified, “There are two different antibodies…IgM and IgG. IgM indicates a recent infection so, if positive, it should be followed up with a PCR test.. at this time we have not counted any [serology tests] towards our total, only PCR positives.”

MCHC expects to receive approxi- mately 500 PCR swab tests per week for a total of 3500 tests over the next two months. 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.”

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