Greenlee and Graham counties have had the fewest reported cases in the state, respectively
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM AND GREENLEE COUNTIES – Somewhat isolated in the southeastern part of the state, the rural counties of Graham and Greenlee are the only two of Arizona’s 15 counties to not report a new positive test for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 this week.
On March 13, the Pima School District announced that a staff member who worked with fifth and sixth grades who was exposed to COVID-19 during travel tested positive. The Graham County Health Department quickly set up a three-day clinic at Pima Junior High where it triaged numerous patients and administered tests for those possibly exposed to the staff member and were showing symptoms. One positive test came out from the clinic and was confirmed on March 21. Since then, both patients have made a full recovery and are no longer contagious. To date, those two initial patients have been the only positive COVID-19 test results for Graham County, despite testing reporting errors to the state on two occasions where negatives were initially reported as positives on accident.
Greenlee County was the last of Arizona’s 15 counties to report a positive test when it released the result Sunday, March 29. The Greenlee County Health Department said the positive case was travel-related and all individuals close to the patient were being isolated and quarantined as health officials conducted investigations to identify any close contacts who may have been exposed while the patient was infectious.
Both Graham and Greenlee counties have encouraged their residents to follow the physical distancing guidelines and businesses have followed suit – including placing marks for those in line to stand and limiting the number of people allowed in stores. The counties also encouraged people to wear homemade cloth masks while in public to avoid spreading the virus if you are an asymptomatic carrier. Masks are required to be worn for visitors of Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center.
As of Sunday morning, there were 2,270 total cases of positive COVID-19 test results since the start of the pandemic and 64 people have died from complications associated with the virus.
Maricopa County has more than half the cases in the state with 1,326, followed by Pima County with 372, Navajo County – 195, Coconino County – 155, Pinal County – 103, Yavapai County – 45, Apache County – 23, Mohave County – 17, Yuma County – 13, Cochise County – 8, Santa Cruz County – 4, La Paz County – 3, Gila County – 3, Graham County – 2, and Greenlee County – 1.