Contributed Photo/Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau: Another Graham County resident’s death has been attributed to COVID-19.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – COVID-19 positive cases are rising again and most of those becoming ill are people who have not been vaccinated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 97% of recent hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have been by people who have not been vaccinated, and 99% of deaths are by those unvaccinated as well.
On Thursday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced another death attributed to COVID-19. It was the third death announced this week and marks the 86th county resident whose death has been attributed to COVID-19.
The health department also announced six new positive tests on Thursday, for a total of 11 new positive tests in the past two days. The news positives include four from the Pima/Bylas zip code, one from the Safford zip code, and six listed as being unknown zip codes. Positive cases in Graham County have risen 89% in the past week.
For the course of the pandemic, Graham County has had 5,636 confirmed cases, with 5,513 recovered, 86 deaths, and 37 currently active.
Graham County and Cochise County are the only two counties in Arizona currently listed at being in the “moderate” level of community transmission of COVID-19, with the 13 other counties listed as being either in “substantial” or “high” community transmission. Still, health experts warn of the rise in patients and say the best way to avoid illness and possibly death is to be vaccinated. Nearly 30 percent of Graham County’s population is fully vaccinated. That number rises to about 44.6 percent when the three prisons are taken into account.
“Since December, nearly 11,000 COVID-19 vaccinations have been given to Graham County residents without one severe reaction or hospitalization,” a release from the health department stated. “The vaccine is safe and effective. We strongly encourage everyone 18 years of age and older to receive your vaccination today. Currently, we offer the two-dose Moderna vaccine as well as the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
“Please call the Graham County Health Department at 928-428-0110 to schedule your appointment at our vaccination clinic located at 627 W. Main St in Safford or contact your primary care physician.”
Alabama doctor Britney Cobia posted an emotional plea on Sunday regarding people getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m admitting young, healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,” Cobia wrote. “One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”
In Greenlee County, the positive tests have started to gather again, and the county currently has 23 active cases of COVID-19, according to the Greenlee County Health Department.
As of Thursday, Greenlee has listed a total of 604 cases for the pandemic, with 571 recovered, and 10 deaths.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and available in both counties, and the Pfizer vaccine is available to administer to juveniles 12 and older and is given locally at the Safeway in Thatcher at 2125 W. U.S. Highway 70 for free.