COVID-19 data published on Thursday by the Arizona Department of Health Services showed Santa Cruz County meeting all benchmarks for schools and businesses for the seventh consecutive week.

However, the county’s performance on two of the three benchmarks weakened for the second week in a row.

The latest benchmarks, which referred to data from the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3, showed:

• The county had 58 new cases per 100,000 residents that week, which was below the threshold mark of 100 per 100,000, but higher than the two pervious weeks, when there were 38 and then 45 new cases per 100,000 residents.

• The positive test rate was 6.2 percent, just below the benchmark threshold for schools, which is 7 percent. Two weeks prior, the county’s positive test rate was 3 percent. The week after that, it rose to 4.5 percent before increasing again.

• The percentage of hospital visits that were for COVID-like illness remained well below the 10-percent benchmark at 1.6 percent, a slight drop from 1.8 percent the previous week.

The County Health Services Department, which reports COVID-19 data on a daily basis, reported 50 new confirmed cases among local residents during the week leading up to Thursday, Oct. 15. That brought the total number of confirmed infections in the county since the start of the pandemic to 2,919.

• 64 local residents had died from the disease, according to the county statistics published Thursday, an increase of one reported death during the previous week.

• The number of people from Santa Cruz County who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 was 223 as of Thursday, up four from a week prior.

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