COVID-19 continues rapid increase in Graham County

More than 1,000 listed as being recovered

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – COVID-19 continues its rapid increase in Graham County, with 70 new cases in the last two days.

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported an increase of 22 new cases Thursday and 48 new cases Friday in Graham County to push the total for the pandemic to 1,815. The new positive tests include 30 from Safford, 19 from Thatcher, 16 from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, three from Pima, and two from Fort Thomas. Safford has nearly twice the population as Thatcher and four times that of Pima.  

After having its biggest increase of cases in one month in October (408), Graham County has now surpassed that mark with 581 new positive tests in the first 20 days of November alone.

As of Friday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,815 total confirmed cases, with 1,023 recovered and 759 actives. According to GCDHHS criteria, a positive test is not considered a recovered patient until they have 30 days symptom-free. Graham County has about 39,000 residents. About 4.6 percent of Graham County has tested positive for COVID-19, with the currently active number at 1.9 percent.

A total of 33 people, nearly all over the age of 65 and who had pre-existing health conditions, have died with COVID-19 in Graham County. About 1.8 percent of those who have tested positive for the virus in Graham County have died after contracting it. There were currently eight patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center on Tuesday.

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 396 who are under 20 years of age, 777 between 20-44, 206 between 45-54, 190 between 55-64, and 242 who are 65 years old or older.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey put out a statement advising limiting the number of people at gatherings, encouraging the wearing of masks, physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when sick. He said previous mitigation measures, including responsible physical distancing, reduced occupancy, and mask requirements and compliance, continue to help protect public health but did not suggest further mitigation measures, such as closing down bars, in-person dining, or requiring schools to go to distance learning.  

“The more we practice these good behaviors, the more we can protect those we treasure most while also living in this new normal,” Ducey said.

Graham County does not have a mask mandate, however, a number of stores require the use of a mask while in the business, yet only a few actively refuse customers who choose not to wear one.

Local government leaders met Thursday to discuss possible new mitigation efforts, but, according to multiple people at the meeting, nothing has come out of it yet.

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department listed 12 new positive tests on Thursday to raise its total for the pandemic to 167.

The health department has administered tests to 2,160 people as of Tuesday, with 1,993 being negative, and 167 positives, according to the department. The county has 55 active cases, 91 recovered cases, and two deaths. Greenlee County has about 10,000 residents.

The breakdown of the Greenlee cases currently listed on the ADHS’ data dashboard (which only shows 154 positives currently) includes 17 under the age of 20, 81 between 20-44, 27 between 45-54, 19 between 55-64, and 10 who are 65 years old or older.

San Carlos Apache Tribe

The San Carlos Apache Tribe stretches into both Graham and Gila counties and its cases add to the respective counties’ cases based on the geography of where the patients reside.

On Friday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 43 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered 13,880 tests with 11,247 negatives, 2,449 positives, and 184 results pending.

The Tribe lists 296 currently active cases, with 2,125 recovered cases, and 28 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 418 positive, 343 recovered, 64 active, 11 deaths; Peridot – 794 positive, 695 recovered, 88 active, 11 deaths; 7-Mile – 491 positive, 426 recovered, 60 active, five deaths; Bylas – 595 positive, 535 recovered, 59 active, one death; other areas – 151 positive, 126 recovered, 25 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,471 new cases Friday to bring the total to 291,696 for the state. It reported 43 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to an amended 6,427 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents and nearly two million tests have been taken.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 185,580, Pima County – 34,985, Yuma County – 16,042, Pinal County – 14,851, Navajo County – 7,444, Coconino County – 6,765, Mohave County – 5,482, Apache County – 4,741, Yavapai County – 4,095, Santa Cruz County – 3,468, Cochise County – 3,020, Gila County – 2,514, Graham County – 1,815, La Paz County – 740, Greenlee County – 154 (county reports 167).

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