The County Health Services Department confirmed seven new hospitalizations of local residents for COVID-19 during the first nine days of September, the same number it confirmed during all of both June and July. There were 10 reported hospitalizations of local residents in August.

Jeff Terrell, the county’s health services director, said he wasn’t aware of any unusual circumstances behind the recent increase. But he also cautioned that not all hospitalizations are equal.

“It could be an overnight stay and they’re gone,” he said. “If they get admitted, they could be admitted in the morning and then released in the afternoon, but they were admitted so it’s a hospitalization. It’s not necessarily saying that there in for days and receiving serious treatments or anything like that.”

Meanwhile, the county continues to confirm approximately 10 new cases of COVID-19 per day, a trend that has held steady for the past month. County data showed 8,580 total confirmed cases among local residents since the start of the pandemic as of Thursday – an increase of 72 cases during the preceding week.

Of the 72 newest cases, 24 were among people 19 or younger and 20 involved people ages 20 to 44. Another 15 cases were confirmed in people 45 to 64, and 12 were in people 65 or older. The age of the person in one new cases was unknown.

The total number of Santa Cruz County residents confirmed to have died from COVID-19 was 187 as of Thursday, one more than a week earlier.

Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported almost 2,500 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 62 additional deaths on Thursday, and virus-related hospitalizations remained over 2,000 for the 10th straight day, The Associated Press reported.

“Citing staff shortages, hospitals have said they’re stressed by the recent influx of virus cases and that it’s difficult to treat all patients needing treatment for other medical reasons,” the AP reported.

As for the situation in Santa Cruz County, Terrell said: “I don’t feel that we’re that bad yet.”

“We’re just waiting to see if we have anything coming after the Labor Day weekend, to see about any Labor Day get-togethers and travel and if we’re going to see any spike starting maybe Saturday on,” he said.

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