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In Neighboring Sonora, Hermosillo And Agua Prieta At Maximum COVID-19 Risk

Sonora Pandemic
Murphy Woodhouse/KJZZ
A woman crosses the street in downtown Hermosillo, where many shops closed during the pandemic have reopened in recent months.

Sonoran health authorities say the state capital Hermosillo and border city Agua Prieta are now at maximum risk for coronavirus spread.

That designation also comes with more serious restrictions, including shortened hours and occupancy for a number of businesses and the closure of others, like bars and gyms. Weddings and other social events are also not allowed, according to recently published state regulations. At the federal level, Sonora is considered orange, or high-risk, on the national COVID-19 risk scale, but is one of 10 on the cusp rising to red.

Over the weekend, state authorities inspected a number of bars, restaurants and other establishments to ensure compliance with pandemic restrictions.

“What are we going to do about the posadas?” asked Sonoran Health Secretary Enrique Clausen, referring to the seasonal gatherings commonly held in December that he says could lead to more spread of the virus. His office is calling for Sonorans to not organize or attend such events.

In Hermosillo, confirmed cases have surged over the last two weeks, growing by nearly 2,000. In Agua Prieta, deaths in the city of nearly 90,000 nearly equaled those of much larger Hermosillo over the same period, according to state data.

Murphy Woodhouse was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.