YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY)- The Imperial County and Yuma County Health Department have made one thing clear. There's no way to determine if being near the border has an impact on COVID-19 cases. However, some businesses near the border say they have been impacted since the pandemic began.
The San Luis Fire Department (SLFD) says in June alone, 80 percent of the calls it was dispatched to were COVID-19 related. 103 of those calls alone were to the San Luis Port of Entry, where patients were transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC).
"We don't ask for paperwork, if they are U.S. citizens, if they are American citizens. If somebody calls us for an EMS call, if someone dials 911 and we do end up going to the border, we're going to transport them to the hospital. We don't refuse anybody." says Angel Ramirez, SLFD Fire Chief.
SLFD works day in and day out to assist those who are in need of help, while also keeping it's members safe.
Since the pandemic began, only one firefighter from its department tested positive for coronavirus and has returned to work since then.
The firefighters are tested regularly, and after every COVID-19 call, they get tested at Regional Center for Border Health's San Luis Walk-in Clinic.
In Brawley, California, Frye Chapel and Mortuary have been working non-stop on the transports of those who passed from the deadly virus.
Shiela Kruger, Managing Owner of Frye Chapel says, “Business has been impacted from the bi-national travel. I understand that there is other travel that could be bringing COVID in like Arizona and San Diego. I was just speaking to what has impacted my business. I can tell because we’re shipping so many back, you know to Mexico.”
Kruger says 90 percent of the deaths at her mortuary are COVID-19 related. Since the pandemic began, business at the morgue has nearly tripled where one-third of this business is shipping the deceased across the border to Mexicali.
It is also the case for Yuma Mortuary and Crematory. Darren Mattice, the owner, says in a given month he is sending about twenty people who passed from COVID-19 across the border. It accounts for over 50 percent of his business since the pandemic started.
However, both mortuaries are unsure where the deceased resided before they passed away, whether it was in Mexico or the United States.
Yuma and Imperial County have seen more than 400 COVID-19 deaths combined since the beginning of the pandemic.
Both counties border Mexico.
But still, no clear answer as to whether or not this plays a factor in the number of local cases.