Orange Street News


Health Expert: Coronavirus Coming to Patagonia

By Hilde Kate Lysiak


Sign on the outside of the Mariposa Community Health Center asks people who have traveled to China to ring bell. Photo by Hilde Kate Lysiak

It is only a matter of time before Coronavirus hits Patagonia, according to a local medical professional.

Timothy Penniston, a nurse practitioner at the Patagonia Family Health Center, warned that the new Covid-19 virus will be spreading to the local community within the next 4-6 months.

“It [Coronavirus] is something serious, but its main danger is that it is new. No one has any immunity to it,” Penniston told the Orange Street News. 

Penniston says that the best way to prepare is stocking up on food, washing your hands, and staying away from large groups of people.

There are now 975 cases of the Coronavirus in the US today. Arizona added one more confirmed case Monday, upping the number to six. The new case is in Pima County, adding to three in Pinal and two in Maricopa counties.

The Center for Disease Control told reporters that this is only the beginning.

“This virus is capable of spreading easily and sustainably from person to person … and there’s essentially no immunity against this virus in the population,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease.

“It’s fair to say that, as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States will at some point in time, either this year or next, be exposed to this virus and there’s a good chance many will become sick,” she added.

The best thing for residents of Patagonia to do is to stay home if they are feeling any flu-like symptoms. There is no noticeable differences between the flu and corona virus, so if you think you have the flu, Penniston strongly advises to isolate yourself.

“Please stay at home. Call your job and tell them you are sick and can’t come in. It makes so much sense but we live in a culture these days where a lot of people work and employers are not sympathetic when people are sick, so you go in and work when you’re sick,” Penniston told the OSN.

Unfortunately, the Patagonia Health Center won’t have tests for the Coronavirus until next week.

“It’s like a natural disaster. There is no stopping it, all we can do is prepare and limit its impact,” Penniston told the Orange Street News. 

4 comments on “Health Expert: Coronavirus Coming to Patagonia

  1. iwpchi
    March 14, 2020

    Interesting article! I would like to point out however – at the risk of upsetting the local Chicken Little at the Patagonia Family Health Center – that it is in fact *quite possible* that the town of Patagonia, AZ (Pop. 913) will not have the (dis)pleasure of making acquaintance with the COVID-19 virus this year. Patagonia, as you well know, like thousands of other small towns in the USA, is hardly at the center of the known Universe. It would take quite a bit of doing for the virus to make its way to Patagonia. And since the 2019-2020 flu season is going to end in Southern Arizona long before the COVID-19 virus will probably have a chance to get there, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll be seeing it this year. Hopefully, by next year, we’ll have a vaccine for it and the vaccine will arrive in Patagonia *before* the “in-the-wild” virus makes its long, long journey to your town.



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