COVID-19 cases surge in Graham, Greenlee counties

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – After averaging about 40 new cases per week for about 2.5 months, COVID-19 positive tests spiked in Graham County recently, with 132 new cases in the last week. 

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, that brings the total number of reported positive cases in Graham County for the course of the pandemic to 12,531 with 180 deaths.

New cases nearly dropped to nothing at the end of March, where the county only registered two new cases the week of March 27 and four the week of April 3. However, by the week of April 24, the county was seeing 41 new cases per week. That number hovered in the area going slightly lower and higher until the week of July 3, which registered 104 new positive tests. It was the county’s first triple-digit week of new tests since the week of Feb. 6 (145).  

While the numbers have recently spiked in Graham and Greenlee counties, statewide new cases have seemingly temporarily plateaued. 

Greenlee County

Cases have increased to a point in Greenlee County where the health department is warning the public the danger is still there. 

Greenlee County has seen the lowest amount of cases out of any county in the state. It is also the least populous county. 

According to the AZDHS, Greenlee reported 32 new positive tests for the past week. For the course of the pandemic, Greenlee has had 2,347 cases and 39 deaths, according to the AZDHS. 

Recent variants of the Omicron strain are believed to be a possible cause of the uptake in cases. The variants affect a person’s throat more than the lungs and feature a persistent cough, with possible body aches and flu-like symptoms, including fever. 

Health professionals advise people to take precautions to avoid catching COVID-19 and to frequently wash their hands.