SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. – The mortality rate from COVID-19 here exceeds the average across Mexico, according to a Sonora state official who says one reason may be that people are putting off treatment for the virus.

Twelve of every 100 residents of the border city across from Yuma County are dying from the novel coronavirus, compared with the national average of 10.5 nationally, Gerardo Alvarez, spokesman for Sonora Health Ministry, said this week in a news conference transmitted by Facebook

Ten people have died of the virus over the past week, he said, bringing the total number of deaths in the city since the start of the pandemic to 32. That number exceeds the eight deaths recorded in Sonora’s capital, Hermosillo, which has about four times the population of San Luis Rio Colorado.

Hermosillo recently surpassed San Luis Rio Colorado in the number of overall cases among its residents, but Alvarez said Hermosillo’s fatality rate from the virus is far lower, 2.5 per 100 people.

Alvarez said health officials have identified a variety of factors that contribute to the high infection rate in San Luis Rio Colorado, but can only speculate why the city’s mortality rate is so much higher.

“We have been speaking with doctors and epidemiologists in San Luis, and what we have observed is that there is a high proportion of patients who are not coming in on time for medical attention,” he said.

“When they do it, they are already in a condition of overall decline,” said Alvarez, emphasizing the importance of seeking treatment as soon as one experiences high temperature, fever or other symptoms associated with COVID-19.

San Luis Rio Colorado recorded two deaths from the virus on May 11 and 12, four deaths on May 15, another last Saturday and three on Sunday. Those who passed away Sunday were women ages 67, 71 and 75.

“I don’t have enough information to make a conclusion, but I think the delay in seeking medical advice is the main factor associated with the number of deaths,” Alvarez said.

As of Wednesday, there were 268 COVID-19 cases in San Luis Rio Colorado, compared with 394 in Hermosillo.

There were 1,189 cases across Sonora as of Wednesday. Although a stay-at-home order is in place across Sonora, many residents are ignoring it, Alvarez said.

In Baja California, meanwhile, Mexicali has recorded 1,500 cases and 134 deaths among its residents.

Across Baja there were 3,558 cases and 610 deaths, but the state said it would soon issue guidelines for reopening businesses and schools.

Baja officials said the reopening would be gradual, based on monitoring case rates region by region of the state, with the areas less impacted by the virus allowed to open first.

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