The Arizona Department of Health Services rolled out a new way to track COVID-19 cases by zip code Sunday.
It shows there are at least 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in each of the majority of zip codes in the state's two major metropolitan area.
And in some cases more. A lot more.
Like 64 in the 85714 zip code along Tucson's south side. And 43 in a section of Chandler and 42 in Green Valley.
There are still just three cases in Gila County, all in the Payson 85541 zip code.
The information shows some other relative hotspots including the areas in and around Florence and Casa Grande, each with 17, and into Sahuarita with 14.
And even with those clusters, there are some areas that appear unaffected — relatively – with fewer than five cases reported, like a stretch of central Phoenix in the 85007 zip code and a section of south Tempe in 85284.
The same is true in zip code 85715 on Tucson's northeast side and 85707 on the city's southeast edge.
What the new data also show is:
- Those 65 and older elderly are much more likely to die from the virus, making up 78 of the 115 deaths to date;
- Younger people — those in the 20 to 44-year-old age group — apparently are more likely to recover, as there are 3,601 confirmed cases to date but with just one death;
- Men are more likely to succumb to COVID-19 even though they make up fewer than half the total number of 3,539 confirmed cases;
- Native Americans account for 6% of all cases — close to their percentage of the state population — but 16% of all deaths.
What the new data and the maps do not show is the relative rate of infection, as the number of people living in each zip code can vary widely. But it provides the first more granular look at neighborhoods by the health department which, until now, had released data only on a county-by-county basis.
And the use of zip codes -- whose boundaries are set by the U.S. Postal Service — may not show the effect on an entire community.
Consider Prescott, where the lines for three zip codes come together at Gurley Street and Grove Avenue.
The 86301 code, which radiates northeast of there, has between 6 and 10 cases, with the health department deciding not to be more specific when the numbers are that small. In 86305, going northwest, there are 1 to 5 cases. And in 86303, everything south of that, the health department reports no COVID-19 cases.
In the Tucson area, with multiple zip codes, the relative hot spot is 85714, a swath between Ajo Way and Irvington Road, west from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to just west of Interstate 19. There were 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
But there are infections in surrounding areas with 85716, just south, showing 45 cases, and 32 cases in the 85713 zip code just north.
And in Maricopa, split down the middle, the health department listed 18 cases in 85138 on the east side — and zero cases to the west in 85139.
There also are gaps, with the new report not listing data for zip codes where tribal residents make up more than 50% of the population.
Along the state's southern border, there were 1-5 cases reported in each of the three zip codes in the Nogales area. The same is true for the two zip codes for Sierra Vista, though the Douglas area has between 6 and 10.
There also are some apparent anomalies in the area: While the Benson and Wilcox areas have no reported cases, the 85606 zip code in between, around the community of Cochise, has between 1 and 5.
The 85351 zip code for the retirement community of Sun City lists 23 cases, with 12 in 85335 for El Mirage and 13 in 85374 in Surprise. But across the road in 85375 in Sun City West there were between 6-10 cases.
The 86403 zip code around the center of Lake Havasu City has 1-5 cases, with 6-10 in the adjacent 86404 area.
In Northern Arizona, the 86407 zip code around Winslow showed 46 cases with 30 in the 86004 area on the east side of Flagstaff, 12 in 86001 in other areas around the city but just 1-5 in 86005. That last area may be because it includes Northern Arizona University, which has been closed.
Mesa's 85206 logged 53 cases, the highest in the East Valley area, followed Chandler's at 43, 95143 in Queen Creek at 40 and 85205 in northeast Mesa at 34.