Santa Cruz County reported a total of 3,085 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, Nov. 5. That was an increase of 72 cases during the previous week.

Sixty-five local residents had died from the disease, according to data published Thursday. The county hasn’t reported any new deaths in more than two weeks.

The number of people from Santa Cruz County who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 was 232, five more than was reported a week earlier.

The county improved its marks in benchmark data released by the Arizona Department of Health Services as a guideline for determining whether schools should offer hybrid or in-person learning.

For the week beginning Oct. 18 (the most recent for which data is available), Santa Cruz County registered a positive COVID-19 test rate of 4.9 percent, down from 7 percent the week of Oct. 11. The threshold for recommending hybrid instruction was revised up from 7 percent to 10 percent late last month.

The number of new cases in the county also dropped marginally, to 75 new cases per 100,000 residents for the week of Oct. 18, down from 79 per 100,000 a week earlier. The threshold is 100 cases per 100,000 residents.

The third state benchmark for schools, measured on a regional rather than a county-level basis, takes into account the percentage of hospital visits that were for COVID-like illness. That number was 2 percent in the southeast Arizona region for the week of Oct. 18, well below the recommended 10-percent benchmark. That was down from 2.3 percent the previous week.

The numbers for the week of Oct. 11 had been revised slightly by this Thursday. That week’s benchmark data was originally 6.9 percent positivity, with 82 new cases per 100,000 residents and 2.8 percent of hospitalizations related to COVID-like illness.

According to the Sonora State Health Department, there had been 2,762 cases and 269 deaths in Nogales, Sonora, as of Wednesday evening. That marked a one-week increase of 38 cases and five deaths.

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