By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – While Graham County has the third-lowest total amount of COVID-19 cases of any county in the state (after Greenlee and La Paz), it has the highest rate of cases per population.
The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 for Graham County on Monday, with more than 150 in the past five days. Of the new cases, the vast majority (more than 100) are from the Safford zip code, the most populous zip code in the county.
The new cases bring the currently active number to 671. For the course of the pandemic, Graham County has had 8,093 total confirmed cases, with 7,301 recoveries, 121 deaths, and 671 currently active cases. That gives the county a COVID-19 death rate of 1.5 percent of those confirmed cases.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Graham County has a COVID-19 rate of 21,034 per 100,000 population. That is good for the worst rate out of any of Arizona’s 15 counties, with the next closest being Apache County with a rate of 20,605 per 100,000 population, and Navajo County with a rate of 20,536 per 100,000 population.
Conversely, despite a recent uptick in cases, Greenlee County has the lowest rate of cases by county in the state with 12,299 per 100,000 population. Greenlee is followed by Cochise County with 13,020 cases per 100,000 population, and Yavapai County with 13,039 cases per 100,000 population. The state’s average is 16,931 cases per 100,000 population.
While some cases are asymptomatic or improve within a week or two, other cases have lingered with mild to severe effects for months and even more than a year, while it proves fatal to others. While those who have already had the virus and survived likely have natural antibodies to fight the virus from quickly returning, for those who have not had the virus the best way to avoid catching it is to be vaccinated.
The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services offers free vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Now, children 5 and up can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and adults can have any of the three. The department is now also offering booster shots for those over the age of 65, immunocompromised population 18 and older, and those in high-exposure jobs who are 18 and older. The health department provides the vaccine Mondays-Wednesdays from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Thursdays from 2 – 5 p.m., and the Pfizer vaccine on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 – 7:30 p.m. Click here to register to receive a vaccine.