WILLCOX — In an email sent by Mo Shelton, CEO of Northern Cochise Community Hospital on Monday, Nov. 16, to local public officials and fellow staff members at her hospital, the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the prevention protocol moving forward was highlighted. 

 “COVID is really spreading locally," Shelton's email read. "For two weeks the rate was hovering at about 20% positivity rate and this past week it’s at 26%.  The 26% positivity takes into account our “local” communities in the greater hospital district area (Pearce, Bowie, Willcox, Cochise, etc.).  When looking strictly at Willcox zip codes, the number bumps up to 28% positivity. 

“I urge you all to consider masking whenever in public and to be cautious.  These rates are far higher than the county and statewide positivity rates.  My latest report from the county looks more like 14% and the state is between 9 and 10% at last review. I’ve learned in the last week that there seems to be a sentiment in the community that the virus isn’t present here or that it’s not 'bad' here, but the opposite is true.  It’s worse in our area."

 “Be safe and be careful!”

Ainslee Bull, community relations director for NCCH, echoed her CEO’s email comments by emailing the Herald/Review a current statement from NCCH.

“We currently have a positivity rate of 28% from last week for just the Willcox zip codes (85643 and 85644). The hospital district rate is 26% and the state is 9.6 for the same week. Prevention protocol, masking, is the single most important thing we can do to curb the spread. In addition, avoiding crowds and gatherings (especially if everyone is not masked) is very important as well,” Bull said. 

According to NCCH’s website: “A COVID-19 testing lane has been marked in front of the main lobby. It is open for testing from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vehicles should turn in from Bowie Street and go toward Arizona Avenue. Please remember to wear your mask into NCCH. No visitors are allowed at this time, unless accompanying a child.”