Town Of Guadalupe's COVID-19 Rate More Than 4 Times Higher Than All Of Maricopa County
The tiny town of Guadalupe has struggled since Gov. Doug Ducey shut down the state in mid-March.
Businesses were hurt and many kids struggled after schools closed. Now, Guadalupe is dealing with an outbreak of the coronavirus.
Guadalupe’s Town Manager Jeff Kulaga opened Thursday’s evening’s Town Council meeting with a presentation detailing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Guadalupe.
"If you see there, it's about 1,600 and change for Guadalupe per 100,000 residents compared to Maricopa County's rate of 358. Our rate is four and a half times greater than the county average rate."
That figure is down from the end of May when it was more than five and half times higher than the county average rate.
While the numbers appear to be improving, Kulaga also addressed questions about what Mayor Valerie Molina could do to help curb the spread.
"Can the mayor declare a local curfew or a state stay-at-home order? No," he said. "Per the governor’s executive order, that's out of reach. Can the town regulate or limit religious gatherings? No."
The May 12 order Kulaga is referring to states no county, city, town may make or issue any order, rule or regulation that conflicts with the order or is in addition to the policy, directives, or intent of the executive prder.
At a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey was asked about letting cities decide what’s best. He said he continues to believe the government closest to the people is best.
"Except in a global pandemic," he said. "We want to have clarity and consistency for our citizens."
While Mayor Molina’s hands are tied, she and others are pushing ahead.
"So we're the little town that could," said Molina. "We take two steps forward. And then we kind of get knocked on our knees for a little bit. And we are a strong community. So our community has actually shown that they have an interest in combating the COVID."
Molina says more than 600 people have been tested for the virus and the community is learning to practice social distancing.
But a big challenge here is that multiple generations live in a single home, making it easy for the virus to spread. Still, she says, they’ve been lucky. While there have been some deaths, most of their elders have remained healthy during the outbreak.