Coronavirus

Five residents of Santa Cruz County have now tested positive for COVID-19, with all five infections attributed to the person having traveled to an area where community spread is present.

The fifth case was added to the County Health Service Department’s aggregate data on Monday morning.

Of the five confirmed cases, four were detected in women and one in a man. Three of the people were between 45 and 64 years old, one was between 20 and 44, and another was 65 or older.

Three of the people have recovered and have been released from isolation. The other two are recovering at home.

“At this time there are no hospitalizations,” County Health Services Director Jeff Terrell said an email in which he confirmed that “the newest case is due to picking it up in another area.” 

Also on Monday morning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed that three of its Nogales-based employees had tested positive for COVID-19. However, it wasn’t clear if they were among the five confirmed Santa Cruz County cases, since some CBP officers and Border Patrol agents who work in the area live in other counties.

Terrell confirmed that COVID-19 cases counted toward the county are defined by the person’s place of residence.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in a given community is unlikely to represent the true number of infections, since many people who are infected show no or mild symptoms, and few people are tested for it.

A study published last week by researchers at the University of Texas simulated the spread of the outbreak in every U.S. county and calculated the risk that there already is sustained community transmission that has not yet been detected.

At the time that the study was published, when Santa Cruz County had three confirmed cases, the researchers’ model found a 79 percent chance of a COVID-19 epidemic – a situation in which an outbreak grows exponentially.

In counties where there are five known cases, the model found an 85-percent chance of an epidemic.

Data published by the Arizona Department of Health Services on Monday morning, before the fifth Santa Cruz County case was confirmed, showed that 84 local residents had tested negative for COVID-19. The number of pending tests was not reported.

In Arizona, there were 2,456 total confirmed COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths as of Monday morning.

At the same time, the COVID-19 death toll in the United States was nearing 10,000, with more than 337,000 confirmed infections nationwide – the most of any country in the world – according to the Associated Press.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CNN on Sunday that the coming week was going to be “the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly.”

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