Vaccine

A medical professional from Mariposa Community Health Center prepares a COVID-19 vaccine dose at the county vaccination clinic at the City of Nogales Recreation Center.

Santa Cruz County received 2,300 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, after last week’s vaccine shipments were delayed due to extreme weather conditions in many parts of the country.

That meant local authorities got the 1,800 doses they’d been expecting last week, plus another 500. Dr. Eladio Pereira, chief medical officer of the Mariposa Community Health Center, said Santa Cruz County’s allocation from the state was increased.

The county is still waiting on another 1,800 doses planned for delivery this week. Pereira said the majority of this week and last week’s allocation will be for second doses of the vaccine.

With the expectation that the local area will get two vaccine shipments this week, MCHC and the county are preparing to up their vaccination efforts to move more people through local immunization clinics. Pereira said that the plan is to give out more than the 2,300 doses that have already arrived, but he didn’t know how far they’d get into this week’s anticipated 1,800-dose shipment.

State data published Monday showed that 8,901 people had received at least one vaccine dose in Santa Cruz County, and that 1,819 had been fully vaccinated. Those numbers had changed little from the previous week as a result of the shipping delays.

In other pandemic-related news, Santa Cruz County is now eligible for $751,000 in additional federal funding to support COVID-19 testing and tracing.

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced the county’s potential allocation on Friday as part of $100 million in federal funding that it’s hoping to send to local health departments to cover staffing, laboratory testing, disease surveillance and “other activities critical to combating COVID-19.” The funds come from Arizona’s $419-million share of the $19 billion allocated to jurisdictions through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) cooperative agreement.

ADHS said it made the latest funding allocations by using a formula of a $100,000 base amount plus each county’s percentage of the state’s population.

Under its funding agreement with the CDC, ADHS said, it must submit a budget for the funds by mid-March. Following approval, funding will support projects from Jan. 15 on.

Jeff Terrell, the Santa Cruz County health services director, said in an email Monday that the county had not yet submitted a plan or budget to the state for its share of the new funding.

Testing for COVID-19 has declined in Santa Cruz County and the rest of the state of late as the emphasis has shifted to vaccinations. ADHS data shows that 1,551 people were tested for the disease in the county during the first seven days of January – an average of 222 per day. During the seven days leading up to Feb. 18, the number of people tested here was down to 281, or 40 per day.

Other data shows rapidly diminishing numbers of new infections, deaths and hospitalizations in Santa Cruz County.

According to statistics posted Monday by the County Health Services Department, the county confirmed 32 new COVID-19 cases, one death and four hospitalizations during the week of Feb. 16-22. That brought the county’s totals since the start of the pandemic to 7,575 cases, 166 deaths and 527 hospitalizations.

By comparison, the county added 424 new cases, 15 deaths and 42 hospitalizations during the first week of January.

In Nogales, Sonora, state numbers released Sunday showed that 34 new cases and four deaths from COVID-19 had been confirmed during the preceding week. That brought the city’s pandemic totals to 4,284 confirmed cases and 469 deaths.

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