Graham County announces two additional deaths from COVID-19

Death toll now at 11 for the county

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – On Sunday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services (GCDHHS) announced two more deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Both patients were Safford residents over the age of 65. Graham County has now seen five deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the past week and 11 for the course of the pandemic.

While the death rate increased, the county only announced one new positive test. Additionally, 14 previous tests counted by Graham County that were transferred to Gila County will stay with Gila County’s numbers, lowering Graham County’s positive test numbers to 490 as of Sunday night. With the lowered positive test numbers and additional two deaths, however, the county’s death rate of those known to be infected raised to 2.24 percent. A number of people who get infected show little to no symptoms and do not end up getting tested, so the death rate is likely lower than the one that can be calculated.      

Graham County Health Department Director Brian Douglas previously advised that the state had taken 14 cases from the San Carlos Apache Tribe from Graham County several days ago and that the cases would show back up for Graham County on the state’s data dashboard by Tuesday. However, on Sunday Douglas told the Gila Herald that the state decided to keep the 14 tests in Gila County. The positive tests are from San Carlos Apache Tribal members on the reservation, which spans into both Gila and Graham counties.

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 80 who are under 20 years of age, 203 between 20-44, 60 between 45-54, 51 between 55-64, and 93 who are 65 years old or older. That number will increase by one on Monday.  

To date, the county has administered tests to 2,854 people with a total of 490 positives. The county lists 355 currently active cases, with 124 recovered cases, and 11 deaths. 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.

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department announced one additional positive test Sunday. The department has administered tests to 913 people, with 771 being negative, 56 positives, and 86 results pending, according to its update Sunday. The county lists 20 active cases, 34 recovered cases, and two deaths. Greenlee County has about 10,000 residents.

The breakdown of the Greenlee cases include two under the age of 20, 33 between 20-44, nine between 45-54, seven between 55-64, and four 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 Sunday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported four new positive tests for the reservation.

To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 4,318 people with 3,528 negative, 484 positives, and 306 results pending.

The Tribe lists 154 currently active cases, with 327 recovered cases, and three deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 75 positive, 46 recovered, 28 active, one death; Peridot – 181 positive, 117 recovered, 62 active, two deaths; 7-Mile – 79  positive, 65 recovered, 14 active; Bylas – 111 positive, 73 recovered, 38 active; other areas – 38 positive, 26 recovered, 12 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 1,465 new cases Sunday to bring the total to 178,467 for the state. It added 18 new deaths Sunday to bring the total fatalities due to COVID-19 to 3,765 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.

The deaths by age group for the entire state include 2,712 who were 65 years old or older, 563 who were between 55-64, 260 who were between 45-54, 218 who were between 20-44, and 12 who were less than 20 years old. The state currently lists that 85 percent of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds across the state are in use   

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 120,279, Pima County – 16,655, Yuma County – 11,142, Pinal County – 8,227, Navajo County – 5,271, Apache County – 3,064, Coconino County – 2,990, Mohave County – 3,027, Santa Cruz County – 2,608, Yavapai County – 1,818, Cochise County – 1,536, Gila County – 833, Graham County – 489 (actual number is 490), La Paz County – 473, Greenlee County – 55.