Santa Cruz County confirmed 85 new cases of COVID-19 in the seven days leading up to Monday – the lowest weekly total since early November, when a second surge sent infections in the local community to new heights.

The 7,748 total cases reported by the county from start of the pandemic through Feb. 8 means almost one in six county residents has tested positive since the disease reached the local area last March.

Despite the recent decline in confirmed cases, the county also reported 10 more COVID-19 deaths, for a total of 159, and 14 new hospitalizations, for a total of 519, over the past week.

While new cases have tapered off in recent weeks, deaths and hospitalizations haven’t slowed down as dramatically, suggesting that the lower case numbers could be explained in part by less testing. Indeed, Arizona Department of Health Services data showed that Santa Cruz County reported test results for just 365 people for the week of Jan. 31, the lowest weekly number since October.

No longer ‘code red’

In Nogales, Sonora, there had been 4,231 total COVID-19 infections and 454 deaths confirmed as of Sunday, Feb. 7, according to the Sonora state government. Those numbers represented a one-week increase of 57 cases and nine deaths.

In a report released by the Sonora Health Secretariat on Saturday, Nogales was downgraded to “code orange” after several weeks in the “code red” category. Last week, six Sonoran municipalities were labelled code red, but only two – Hermosillo and Navojoa – earned the designation in the new map released on Feb. 6.

The code red classification triggered rules to close businesses in certain sectors and a call for people to remain indoors between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The lower risk rating means that restrictions on individuals and businesses may be curtailed in the coming week.

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