New zip code-specific reporting of COVID-19 cases in Arizona provides a slightly more precise look at the location of confirmed infections in Santa Cruz County.
Even so, because the overall number of local cases is still small, the data published by the Arizona Department of Health Services only shows which county zip codes had no cases, and which had between one and five.
With the ADHS still reporting eight confirmed cases in Santa Cruz County (the county health services department added a ninth case to its tally on Sunday morning), the new reporting measures distributed them among three local zip codes: 85648 (Rio Rico), 85624 (Patagonia) and 85621 (Nogales and areas east of city limits, up to and including Patagonia Lake).
The local zip codes with no confirmed cases were 85646 (Tubac), 85640 (Tumacacori-Carmen), 85637 (Sonoita) and 85611 (Elgin-Canelo).
In Arizona zip codes with more than 10 confirmed infections, the Department of Health Services is now providing precise numbers of known cases.
In a footnote to the new data, the ADHS said that if a patient’s address of residence was unknown, “cases were mapped to the address of the provider, followed by the address of the reporting facility.”
Prior to Sunday, the state had only identified the location of COVID-19 cases by county. That had led to increasing complaints – and even a lawsuit from leaders in Pinal County – that the information wasn't specific enough to help community members make informed decisions about how to protect themselves.
Sunday’s ADHS data showed that 117 people in Santa Cruz County had been tested for COVID-19 with definitive results. Of those, 109 were negative. The number of pending tests was not available.
However, the Santa Cruz County COVID-19 webpage was updated at 8 a.m. Sunday to show nine confirmed cases, eight among women and one in a man.
Five of those cases were in people ages 45 to 64. Another three were detected in people 65 or older, and one involved a local resident between the ages of 20-44. There have been no COVID-19 deaths confirmed in Santa Cruz County.
At least three U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees based in Nogales have tested positive for COVID-19, but it’s not clear if they are included in the county’s totals since their place of residence has not been released. It's also not clear if the employees work as CBP officers at the ports of entry or as Border Patrol agents in the field.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in a community is unlikely to represent the true number of infections, since many people who are infected show no or mild symptoms, and relatively few people are tested for it. Those who are asymptomatic can still transmit the disease, which is why public health officials are urging social distancing even in areas where there are low numbers of confirmed cases.
Statewide, 3,539 coronavirus cases have been confirmed and 115 Arizonans had died from the disease, according to the ADHS statistics published Sunday.
In the neighboring Mexican state of Sonora, there were 83 confirmed infections and eight deaths attributed to COVID-19 as of Saturday.