Graham County surpasses 10,000 total cases
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – The number of new COVID-19 cases in Graham County has skyrocketed the past two days alone with 211 new cases.
That has propelled Graham County to 10,026 total cases for the course of the pandemic and 1,213 currently active cases.
The county has had a total of 8,652 recoveries for the pandemic, with 161 deaths (two so far this year). Graham County has the second-worst rate of COVID transmission out of the 15 Arizona counties (Navajo is the worst) and the most populous area in the county, the Safford zip code, leads the way with more than 100 new cases in the last two days.
Recently, the Mount Graham Regional Medical Center issued a request to the community to help lower transmission rates in the face of the more contagious Omicron variant.
The hospital is requesting community members practice recommended precautions in public and take COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots along with a seasonal flu shot. “These will help you avoid serious illnesses,” the statement read.
For the week ending Jan. 11, the hospital averaged four COVID-19 patients each day for the previous two weeks, according to its own data. The percent of patients hospitalized during that same time period who have not taken any COVID-19 vaccines was 89.5%.
While the Omicron variant has shown to be more transmissible it also has shown milder symptoms and is located more in the upper respiratory tract with cough and cold symptoms. Previously, COVID-19 and its variants have been more dangerous – especially to those who are elderly, obese or have pre-existing medical conditions. Those variants attacked victims’ lower respiratory tract. As of Tuesday, the rate of cases continues to increase in Arizona.
The ADHS put out data regarding rates of COVID-19 by vaccination status. Click here to go through the data, which states that in November unvaccinated people had nearly a 5 times greater chance of contracting COVID-19 and 31 times greater risk of dying from it.
The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services offers free vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson and has booster shots for those 18 and over. Additionally, children 5 and up can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and adults can have any of the three. The health department provides the vaccine Mondays from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Thursdays from 2 – 5 p.m., and the Pfizer vaccine for those 5 and older on Thursdays from 5 – 7:30 p.m. and Fridays from 2 – 5 p.m. Click here to register to receive a vaccine. Vaccines are also available at local pharmacies such as Palo Verde Pharmacy in Pima, and, in Greenlee County, at Gila Health Resources.
According to the Greenlee County Health Department, the county had 24 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, which put its total for the pandemic to 1,964.
As of Wednesday, Greenlee County had roughly 346 active cases while it registered 1,588 recoveries and 30 deaths for the course of the pandemic.
With the new cases, Greenlee County has moved to the second-lowest rate of cases by county in the state with 18,062 per 100,000 population. Greenlee is now behind Yavapai County with 17,722 cases per 100,000 population for the lowest transmission rate in the state. Cochise County is right behind Greenlee with 18,571 cases per 100,000 population. The state’s average is 23,423 cases per 100,000 population, and Graham County is at 26,057 cases per 100,000 population, which is the second-highest rate behind Navajo County which is at 28,499 cases per 100,000 population.
MGRMC is a Level IV Trauma Center that works with local air transportation agencies when necessary to transfer patients to a higher-level trauma center.