Graham County COVID-19 testing blitz serves 170

Second round scheduled for Saturday, September 26

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services’ tested 170 people at its COVID-19 testing blitz on Saturday at the Graham County Fairgrounds.

The testing blitz is sponsored by the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties and the Arizona National Guard to provide the service at no charge.

The testing blitz utilizes a saliva-based test and collects saliva samples in a tube. The ADHS considers this a confirmatory test and will be counted toward the county’s COVID-19 percentages. Additionally, a less invasive nasal swab as opposed to the normal nasal pharyngeal test will be available as well.

The GCDHS recommends scheduling an appointment if you would like to be tested at the next blitz, at the Graham County Fairgrounds near the Agriculture Building on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 6 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Online registration is strongly encouraged, but walk-ins (drive-ins) will still be accepted.
• Register for an appointment with your cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
• Log in:
• Agency code: SALIVATEST
• Once logged-in to the portal, click on “Appointments” to request an available appointment time
• Arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
• If you have any scheduling issues, please email
Important guidelines
• You must wear a protective face covering – either cloth or surgical mask.
• Bring the QR code you receive after scheduling your test appointment.
• 30 minutes before your appointment, rinse your mouth with plain water for 20-30 seconds and
then spit the water out.
• Do not eat, drink (even water), smoke, vape, or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to your
appointment time (any of these factors may cause an invalid test and/or your test may be rejected
by clinical personnel at site collection). Tip: Staying well hydrated by drinking water the day
before and up to 30 minutes prior to your test will speed your saliva collection process.
• Results will be available via the portal approximately 48 hours from your testing time.
Individuals will be available at the COVID-19 testing site to address questions you have
pertaining to the sample collection process.

Any questions regarding the testing blitz can be answered by the GCDHHS at 428-0110.

Graham County

On Sunday, the GCDHS reported four new positive test results – three from Safford and one from Thatcher – pushing the county’s total to 792 since the start of the pandemic. The total is the third lowest out of Arizona’s 15 counties, with only La Paz County (535) and Greenlee County (58) being lower.  

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services most recent metrics, Graham County has a current positivity rate of 9.5 percent

As of Sunday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 792 total confirmed cases, with 640 recovered and 128 active cases. 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 24 people, mostly all over the age of 65 and who had pre-existing health conditions, have died with COVID-19 in Graham County. 

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 144 who are under 20 years of age, 342 between 20-44, 87 between 45-54, 87 between 55-64, and 131 who are 65 years old or older.

Greenlee County

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: A young girl secures her mask with loops over her ears. Greenlee County recently extended its mask mandate for another month. The county has a zero percent positivity rating and currently has zero active cases.

Greenlee County hasn’t had a new positive test for COVID-19 since Aug. 6 and currently sports a zero present positivity rating from the ADHS and zero active cases.

As of Saturday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered tests to 1,223 people, with 1,160 being negative, 58 positives, and five results pending. The county currently lists zero active cases, 56 recovered cases, and two deaths. Greenlee County has about 10,000 residents.

The breakdown of the Greenlee cases includes three under the age of 20, 35 between 20-44, nine between 45-54, seven between 55-64, and four who are 65 years old or older.

Greenlee County has passed all the benchmarks for both businesses and schools.   

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 15 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 6,939 people with 5,887 negatives, 942 positives, and 110 results pending.

The Tribe lists 78 currently active cases, with 854 recovered cases, and 10 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 132 positive, 118 recovered, 10 active, four deaths; Peridot – 297 positive, 281 recovered, 11 active, five deaths; 7-Mile – 181  positive, 139 recovered, 41 active, one death; Bylas – 262 positive, 258 recovered, four active; other areas – 70 positive, 58 recovered, 12 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported just 469 new cases Sunday to bring the total to 214,018 for the state. It reported nine new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,476 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 139,856, Pima County – 24,610, Yuma County – 12,553, Pinal County – 10,361, Navajo County – 5,748, Mohave County – 3,896, Coconino County – 3,744, Apache County – 3,451, Santa Cruz County – 2,819, Yavapai County – 2,480, Cochise County – 1,881, Gila County – 1,233, Graham County – 792, La Paz County – 535, Greenlee County – 58.

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