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What is being done to help Arizona's hardest-hit COVID-19 zip code?

What is being done to help Arizona's hardest-hit COVID-19 zip code?
Posted at 10:05 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 00:05:07-05

As COVID-19 conditions worsen across Arizona, ABC15 has identified that Phoenix zip code, 85009, has consistently logged the most positive cases since September.

ABC15 data analyst Garrett Archer says the zip code, which is in the southwest quadrant where Interstates 10 and 17 meets, sees at least double the number of cases as the next highest zip code nearly every day.

He calculates that 85009 has had 6,283 cases over the course of the pandemic.

By contrast, 85033 in Maryvale, has the second-highest cumulative cases in Maricopa County with about 3,980 by Archer's calculations.

It doesn't make sense that zip codes such as 85033, 85009--who have the exact same populations would have such a disparate number of cases," he said.

As an example, Archer said on November 11, zip code 85009 added 122 cases. On that same day, he said 85033 added only 20.

"And the only real difference between the two is that there is a jail system in 85009," he said.

The Maricopa County Jail complex is housed in 85009, and with its congregate setting, it makes sense that we would check to see if the increase in cases could be attributed there. But a spokesman says the jails are not the culprit.

A dashboard that tracks cases inside of all Maricopa County jails shows 1,694 cumulative positive cases including 4 active cases in custody.

"There is a robust protocol that includes testing which has kept active cases below ten for at least a month. With case numbers so low in the jails, there is no reason to believe there is a correlation between the jail locations at Durango and the rate in 85009," Communications Director Fields Moseley said in a statement to ABC15.

A state prison facility Phoenix-West is also in the zip code and reports only 1 COVID-19 case for the duration of the pandemic.

ABC15 asked County officials why cases are so much higher in that zip code and what they were doing to find out.

They did not specify if they had identified reasons for the consistent increase in cases but sent a follow-up statement saying in part, "When hot spots are found, Public Health works to identify potential causes and recommend appropriate mitigation strategies, including making testing available directly in communities that need more access, such as in 85009."