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By Hilde Kate Lysiak
April 9th, 2020
The refusal by local health officials to reveal if there are any confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Patagonia has led to rumors and speculation from residents.
As news of the coronavirus continues to sweep across the nation and state of Arizona, residents of Patagonia have been left in the dark.
At the Patagonia Health Clinic, a worker first told the OSN that the law prevents them from giving the people information.
When pressed as to what specific law would being broken by revealing general information for the community about how many people have the virus, the worker said, “I honestly don’t know what the rule is or if anybody has it. We don’t know. But we are being told by the people ahead of us that we can’t say. I don’t know why, but my guess is that no one wants people to panic.”
The OSN reached out to the Health Service Director for Santa Cruz County for clarification, who would only say there are six confirmed cases of the virus — in Santa Cruz county.
“We have had a total of 6 positive tests results [in Santa Cruz count].3 have recovered and the other 3 are self-isolating and recovering at home,” Director Jeff Terell told the Orange Street News.
When asked how many cases were in Patagonia, Terell did not respond.
Patagonia is in Santa Cruz County which includes Nogales, Rio Rico, Sonoita, and Patagonia. In 2010 the population of Santa Cruz County was 47,420 people according to the census.
The “buzz” among people in Patagonia is that the virus has arrived.
Since the outbreak, Patagonia has become a destination for out of towners. Out of state license plates can be seen regularly parked on the main street and the Patagonia Lake has been crowded with cars. Clerks at local stores have also been upset about the amount of people from different areas who have been traveling through Patagonia while the state is supposed to be in lockdown.
The lack of information has led to many people to speculate that the town is already infected while others think that the coronavirus actually came through Patagonia months earlier when a bad sickness devastated the attendance at the local public school.
While refusing to identify if the virus was spreading in Patagonia, Terell did tell the OSN that it is best if “everyone assumes the virus is out in the public.”