On June 1st, Mexico transitioned from its federal “Sana Distancia” (Healthy Distance) program to a National “Stoplight” health alert to guide regions and states back to reopening. That first week, 31 out of 32 states were marked as red “maximum alert”, while the second week saw the entire country recorded in red. However, by the third week, half of the country had moved to orange (high alert) and by the end of last week, 17 states in all were now under the orange distinction. Sonora, however, is still one of the 15 states listed as red for the week of June 22 – 28.
What does this mean for us? Since the launch of the National Semaforo (Stoplight), Deputy Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell, who has been at the forefront of Mexico’s coronavirus updates, detailed the ability for state governments to identify the social and economic realities of each region while keeping in mind the Federal risk assessment. As different states move to orange (Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo – for example), we have seen more beaches reopen in parts of the country. Yet, beaches remain closed in states with a maximum risk alert. So, while Puerto Peñasco’s record so far of coronavirus Covid-19 cases has been low with respect to other parts of Sonora, the overall state ranking on the federal alert map means there has been no federal declaration to open local beaches.
The Federal Health Alert map, as described each Friday by Federal Health Promotion Office chief Dr. Ricardo Cortés Alcalá, details the four indicators they look at are given an “alert setting” (red, orange, yellow, green), this includes: recent case trends (increase, decrease, or stable), hospital admission trends, hospital occupancy %, as well as positive Covid-19 syndrome rates (% of people testing positive). At first, if even one of these factors was red, the assessment for the state was red. However, in the last two weekly evaluations, each of the four factors they examine are now weighted with different percentages. This means a red evaluation in one category does not automatically qualify the state as still at maximum risk.
According to the June 24th health update from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Sonora is among the states currently reporting the highest rates of hospital occupancy, along with Mexico State, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, and Tabasco. On last week’s map, Sonora had two indicators in orange and another two in red. This Friday, we will wait to see if indeed Sonora can achieve the goal of State Secretary of Health Enrique Claussen by turning orange.