The Santa Cruz County Health Services Department reported 62 new COVID-19 cases among local residents during the week leading up to Thursday, an average of just under nine cases per day.

The county has seen a seven-day average of around nine-to-12 cases since mid-August, a total that appears to have plateaued since rising from under two cases per day in June.

There have been 8,642 cases confirmed among county residents since the start of the pandemic. Recently released 2020 Census statisics put the county’s population at 47,669, meaning there has been one confirmed COVID-19 case per every 5.5 local residents.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the community stood at 188 as of Thursday, one more than a week earlier. Hospitalizations were at 596, an increase of two during the previous week. (The health department corrected its numbers on Wednesday and removed one hospitalization from its tally.)

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been an ongoing problem at the state level, with the number hovering just above 2,000 statewide since Aug. 30, according to The Associated Press.

“Hospital systems throughout the state say unvaccinated individuals continue to make up the majority of their caseload,” the AP reported on Thursday, adding that 4.1 million people in Arizona — or 57.1 percent of the eligible population — had received at least one dose of a vaccine. More than 3.6 million have been fully vaccinated.

Santa Cruz County has a high rate of vaccination, though official statistics are unreliable because they include shots given locally to non-residents, including large numbers of Nogales, Sonora residents who have been brought by bus on a regular basis in recent weeks to the Mariposa Port of Entry for COVID-19 vaccines.

On Tuesday, the Mexican government announced that it had completed an effort to vaccinate adults 18 and older in cities along the U.S. border, with about 90 percent of eligible people in 45 municipalities fully vaccinated, KJZZ’s Fronteras Desk reported. Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed his desire that ongoing U.S. restrictions against non-essential cross-border travel from Mexico, implemented in March 2020 in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, would now be lifted.

The Sonora State Health Secretary on Thursday reported 5,583 total COVID-19 cases and 548 deaths in Nogales, Sonora since the start of the pandemic. Those numbers marked one-week increases of 46 cases and two deaths.

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