Graham County adds 35 new COVID-19 positive tests

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci resident Jason Palmer tilts his head back to await insertion of a nasopharyngeal swab.

52 positive tests at EAC testing event not included in new numbers yet

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced 35 new positive tests in Graham County on Wednesday to push the total for the pandemic to 2,041. The county also listed advised of an additional 52 positive tests from a testing blitz at Eastern Arizona College that are not included in the new release. The testing blitz took place Tuesday and tested 330 people, including EAC students and staff, and community members.  

The breakdown for the new positive tests includes 18 from Safford, 11 from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, five from Thatcher, and one from Pima.

After having its biggest increase of cases in one month in October (408), Graham County has easily surpassed that mark with 809 new positive tests in the first 25 days of November.

As of Wednesday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,041 total confirmed cases, with 1,110 recovered and 897 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. A total of 5.2 percent of Graham County has tested positive for COVID-19, with the currently active number at 2.3 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 1.7 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 437 who are under 20 years of age, 867 between 20-44, 235 between 45-54, 218 between 55-64, and 280 who are 65 years old or older.

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

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Supervisor Jim Palmer said while he hates to have to issue a mask mandate, it is the responsible thing to do to help keep schools and businesses open.

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department listed 11 new positive tests on Tuesday to raise its total for the pandemic to 200.

The health department has administered tests to 2,391 people as of Tuesday, with 2,191 being negative, and 200 positives, according to the department. The county has 86 active cases, 112 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 194 positives currently) includes 25 under the age of 20, 95 between 20-44, 34 between 45-54, 24 between 55-64, and 16 who are 65 years old or older.

San Carlos Apache Tribe

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

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, 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 an exception for Wednesday, Nov. 25, 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 Wednesday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 20 new cases and listed four new deaths since last Friday. To date, the Tribe has administered 14,471 tests with 11,723 negatives, 2,644 positives, and 104 results pending.

The Tribe lists 294 currently active cases, with 2,318 recovered cases, and 32 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 451 positive, 388 recovered, 51 active, 12 deaths; Peridot – 860 positive, 748 recovered, 99 active, 13 deaths; 7-Mile – 536 positive, 474 recovered, 56 active, six deaths; Bylas – 630 positive, 569 recovered, 60 active, one death; other areas – 167 positive, 139 recovered, 28 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,982 new cases Wednesday to bring the total to 310,850 for the state. It reported nine new deaths to increase the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 6,524 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 196,849, Pima County – 37,518, Yuma County – 17,119, Pinal County – 15,707, Navajo County – 7,815, Coconino County – 7,185, Mohave County – 5,853, Apache County – 5,112, Yavapai County – 4,751, Santa Cruz County – 3,720, Cochise County – 3,350, Gila County – 2,847, Graham County – 2,041, La Paz County – 789, Greenlee County – 194 (county lists 200).

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