Walt Mares Photo/Gila Herald: A line of cars wait for COVID-19 testing outside of the Copper Mountain Clinic on Monday.
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM AND GREENLEE COUNTIES – The COVID-19 death toll continues to rise in both Graham and Greenlee counties.
SAFFORD – The increase in deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Graham County continues with five new reported deaths the past week to increase the total for the pandemic to 146. Greenlee County also reported two new deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Friday, to give them 25 total.
The five new deaths were listed on the Arizona Department of Health Services Data Dashboard and gives Graham County 20 deaths in just more than three weeks.
The dashboard also listed 23 new confirmed cases on Friday, to increase its total for the pandemic to 8,854 confirmed cases with 146 deaths. Graham County has 797 currently active cases and 7,786 recoveries. Graham County has a COVID-19 death rate of 1.65 percent per confirmed case. The state average is 1.77 percent.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Graham County has a COVID-19 rate of 23,011 cases per 100,000 population. That is good for the second-worst rate out of any of Arizona’s 15 counties, just behind Navajo County, which has a rate of 23,109 per 100,000 population. Apache County is the third-worst with a rate of 22,088 per 100,000 population.
Greenlee County still has the lowest rate of cases by county in the state with 13,802 per 100,000 population. Greenlee is followed by Cochise County with 14,834 cases per 100,000 population and Yavapai County with 15,111 cases per 100,000 population. The state’s average is 18,508 cases per 100,000 population.
While some cases are asymptomatic or improve within a week or two, other cases have lingered with mild to severe effects for months and even more than a year, while it proves fatal to others. While those who have already had the virus and survived likely have natural antibodies to fight the virus from quickly returning, for those who have not had the virus the best way to avoid catching it is to be vaccinated.
The ADHS recently put out new data regarding rates of COVID-19 by vaccination status. Click here to go through the data, which states that in October unvaccinated people had nearly a 4 times greater chance of contracting COVID-19 and 15 times greater risk of dying from it.
The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services offers free vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson and has booster shots for those 18 and over. Additionally, children 5 and up can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and adults can have any of the three. The health department provides the vaccine Mondays from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Thursdays from 2 – 5 p.m., and the Pfizer vaccine for those 5 and older on Thursdays from 5 – 7:30 p.m. and Fridays from 2 – 5 p.m. Click here to register to receive a vaccine. Vaccines are also available at local pharmacies and, in Greenlee County, at Gila Health Resources.