Graham County reports additional COVID-19 death, however, positivity rate drops significantly

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced a new death associated with COVID-19 on Thursday. The death makes 24 in Graham County.

The deceased was a Safford resident over the age of 65.

Along with the new death, the county registered just one new positive Thursday to increase its total to 767 for the course of the pandemic. The new case was listed as being from the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

The total is the third lowest out of Arizona’s 15 counties, with only La Paz County (525) and Greenlee County (58) being lower.  

Graham County listed just 33 new cases over the last eight days since Wednesday, Sept. 4, which less than half of what it had been experiencing previously.  

The lowering 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 5.2 percent, which meets the benchmark for schools reopening. Another week like the last one and Graham County will likely meet all three benchmarks for both businesses and schools.

As of Thursday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 767 total confirmed cases, with 524 recovered and 219 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 139 who are under 20 years of age, 328 between 20-44, 84 between 45-54, 85 between 55-64, and 130 who are 65 years old or older.

Greenlee County

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Greenlee County EMT Dawna Lizarraga adjusts a sign at the entrance to a free Covid-19 drive-through testing site on July 25. There will be a free COVID-19 drive-through testing at Gila Health Resources on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Those attending are requested to enter through the Family Medicine parking lot. Health professionals will also be administering free flu shots at the site.

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 Thursday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered tests to 1,099 people, with 1,031 being negative, 58 positives, and 10 results pending. The county lists one active case, 55 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.

There will be a free COVID-19 drive-through testing at Gila Health Resources on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Those attending are requested to enter through the Family Medicine parking lot. Health professionals will also be administering free flu shots at the site.

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 Thursday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported eight new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 6,536 people with 5,516 negatives, 867 positives, and 153 results pending.

The Tribe lists 78 currently active cases, with 779 recovered cases, and 10 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 126 positive, 115 recovered, seven active, four deaths; Peridot – 286 positive, 261 recovered, 20 active, five deaths; 7-Mile – 135  positive, 112 recovered, 22 active, one death; Bylas – 255 positive, 237 recovered, 18 active; other areas – 65 positive, 54 recovered, 11 active.   

Statewide

For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported just 461 new cases Thursday to bring the total to 207,002 for the state. It reported 22 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,273 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 136,571, Pima County – 22,140, Yuma County – 12,351, Pinal County – 10,142, Navajo County – 5,665, Mohave County – 3,776, Coconino County – 3,436, Apache County – 3,392, Santa Cruz County – 2,780, Yavapai County – 2,390, Cochise County – 1,855, Gila County – 1,154, Graham County – 767, La Paz County – 525, Greenlee County – 58.

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