Graham County exceeds 800 positive COVID-19 cases

Eleven new positive tests announced Wednesday, seven from testing blitz

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services has reported 11 new positive tests for COVID-19, with seven of those coming from the recent testing blitz held Saturday. A few more positive results are still expected to be pending from the blitz. A total of 170 people were tested at the blitz.

The new results lifted Graham County’s total to 808 for the course of the pandemic. Out of the new cases, five come from Safford, three from Pima, two from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and one from Thatcher.

Lowering the number of cases is required for businesses to reopen from Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order mandate. As of the Arizona Department of Health Services’ most recent metrics, Graham County has a positivity rate of 8.4 percent.

As of Wednesday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 808 total confirmed cases, with 657 recovered and 127 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 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 147 who are under 20 years of age, 351 between 20-44, 88 between 45-54, 87 between 55-64, and 134 who are 65 years old or older.

Testing Blitz

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services will conduct a second free, drive-through COVID-19 testing blitz at the Graham County Fairgrounds near the Agriculture Building on Saturday, Saturday, Sept. 26, from 6 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The testing blitz will utilize a saliva-based test from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and will collect saliva samples in a tube. Anyone can take the test even if they don’t have any symptoms.  

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

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

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: https://asubioempportal.pointnclick.com/
  • 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 COVID19info@asu.edu.

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.

Greenlee County

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.

As of Tuesday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered tests to 1,236 people, with 1,176 being negative, 58 positives, and just two results pending. The county does not have any 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 Tuesday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 16 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 7,058 people with 5,958 negatives, 966 positives, and 134 results pending.

The Tribe lists 82 currently active cases, with 874 recovered cases, and 10 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 133 positive, 119 recovered, 10 active, four deaths; Peridot – 301 positive, 281 recovered, 15 active, five deaths; 7-Mile – 195  positive, 150 recovered, 44 active, one death; Bylas – 266 positive, 260 recovered, six active; other areas – 71 positive, 64 recovered, seven active.   

Statewide

For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported just 438 new cases Wednesday to bring the total to 215,284 for the state. It reported 27 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,525 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 140,409, Pima County – 25,004, Yuma County – 12,609, Pinal County – 10,422, Navajo County – 5,763, Mohave County – 3,930, Coconino County – 3,819, Apache County – 3,476, Santa Cruz County – 2,823, Yavapai County – 2,495, Cochise County – 1,886, Gila County – 1,245, Graham County – 808, La Paz County – 536, Greenlee County – 58.

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