Graham County adds 117 new COVID-19 positive tests over Thursday through Saturday

County now at 2,158 total positive cases

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced 76 new positive tests in Graham County on Thanksgiving and an additional 15 on Friday to push the total for the pandemic to 2,132. The county advised that 52 positive tests were from a testing blitz at Eastern Arizona College. The testing blitz took place Tuesday and tested 330 people, including EAC students and staff, and community members. The Arizona Department of Health Services also advised of another 26 positive tests from Graham County on Saturday.   

The breakdown for the new positive tests from Thursday and Friday include 41 from Safford, 32 from Thatcher, 11 from Pima, six from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and one from Fort Thomas.

After having its biggest increase of cases in one month in October (408), Graham County has easily surpassed that mark with 911 new positive tests in November with two days left in the month.

As of Saturday, Graham County had 2,158 total confirmed cases. As of Friday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services listed 1,123 recovered and 960 actives, but that does not take into account the 26 additional positive tests reported Saturday. 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. A total of 5.5 percent of Graham County has tested positive for COVID-19, with the currently active number at 2.5 percent.

A total of 34 people, nearly all over the age of 65 and who had pre-existing health conditions, have died with COVID-19 in Graham County. About 1.6 percent of those who have tested positive for the virus in Graham County have died after contracting it. There were 13 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center on Monday.

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 462 who are under 20 years of age, 926 between 20-44, 243 between 45-54, 230 between 55-64, and 293 who are 65 years old or older and four unknown.

The ever-increasing positive tests have moved the Graham County Board of Supervisors to issue a mask mandate while in public for Graham County.

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: A young girl secures her mask with loops over her ears.

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department listed eight new positive tests on Friday to raise its total for the pandemic to 224. A recent outbreak caused the Morenci football team to forfeit its playoff game against Benson.

The health department has administered tests to 2,541 people as of Friday, with 2,317 being negative, and 224 positives, according to the department. The county has 105 active cases, 117 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 218 positives currently) includes 36 under the age of 20, 104 between 20-44, 36 between 45-54, 26 between 55-64, and 16 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.

Terry Rambler Photo/Facebook: San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler sports a UofA facemask and encourages others to follow his example.

On Friday, Nov. 20, the San Carlos Council issued a two-week stay-at-home mandate effective Nov. 21 – Dec. 5, with Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays designated as essential days. The mandate makes and does not include essential trips to secure food, medical supplies, essential employees, school-related requirements, the post office, planning or attending funerals with a crowd size less than 10, deliveries, construction or repair workers, or those with valid permits for camping, hunting, or fishing.

On Saturday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 43 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered 14,705 tests with 11,885 negatives, 2,644 positives, and 86 results pending.

The Tribe lists 239 currently active cases, with 2,463 recovered cases, and 32 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 464 positive, 414 recovered, 38 active, 12 deaths; Peridot – 896 positive, 783 recovered, 100 active, 13 deaths; 7-Mile – 559 positive, 505 recovered, 48 active, six deaths; Bylas – 642 positive, 610 recovered, 31 active, one death; other areas – 173 positive, 151 recovered, 22 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,136 new cases Saturday to bring the total to 322,774 for the state. It reported 36 new deaths to increase the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 6,624 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 203,663, Pima County – 39,298, Yuma County – 17,746, Pinal County – 16,312, Navajo County – 8,035, Coconino County – 7,446, Mohave County – 6,156, Apache County – 5,347, Yavapai County – 5,181, Santa Cruz County – 3,877, Cochise County – 3,596, Gila County – 2,913, Graham County – 2,158, La Paz County – 828, Greenlee County – 218 (county lists 224).

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