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Santa Cruz County urges community to use face masks as COVID-19 cases surge

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Posted at 7:17 PM, Jun 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 03:16:40-04

NOGALES, Ariz. — Coronavirus cases are spiking in Southern Arizona and Santa Cruz County health officials said over the last month cases have grown drastically.

“We had a serious increase in the last month," explained Jeff Terrell, Santa Cruz health services director. "We had approximately 40 to 45 cases around the beginning of May."

The rural county currently has over 700 active cases and if someone needs to be hospitalized, their only hospital doesn’t have the resources to take them in. The County is urging locals to wear their masks and said they are submitting for a grant to ramp up testing for locals.

"Our patients are all transferred to Tucson. Our hospital is a small rural hospital that has an emergency room and has some recovery rooms and does some elective surgery. But for the most part, we transfer our specialties. Holy Cross doesn't have the things that are necessary to treat somebody who's seriously ill with COVID-19,” Supervisor Bruce Bracker, District 3.

That is an hour or more of driving to get the medical care needed.

"It's community spread, you know, as a community, especially graduations just went by Mother's Day. Typically we all like to get together and celebrate and unfortunately if someone comes to your party and there are more than 10 people and somebody is affected. Guess what? The dominoes start falling and I think that's what has happened here,” said Supervisor Manny Ruiz, District 1.

As cases continue to spike, county leaders signed a proclamation urging the community to follow CDC protocol and wear masks.

“I just want to ask everybody to be responsible and take care of their families to take care of their young ones and they're their older family members. It's really critical. I know it's hard but this is the new norm,” explained Supervisor Rudy Molera, District 2.

Testing in Santa Cruz County is happening at the local urgent care and at the Mariposa Community Health Center.