By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – One day after appearing in front of the Safford City Council and advising of Graham County’s low transmission rate of COVID-19, Graham County Health Director Brian Douglas sent out a notice that six more positive tests had come back, giving the county a total of 71 positive tests to date.
Out of the new six cases, one is from Safford, two are from Thatcher, and three are from the San Carlos Apache Tribe. In total, 24 of Graham County’s cases are from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, which as of Tuesday evening had 99 total positive cases with 77 currently active cases. The Tribe also has an additional 20 total cases (10 active) of tribal members who are living off the reservation.
According to the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Department of Health & Human Services, the breakdown of cases on the reservation include Gilson Wash – 21, Peridot – 32, 7-mile – 25, Bylas – 12, other – 9.
With 16 total cases (8) active, Greenlee County has the lowest rate of transmission out of any of Arizona’s 15 counties, with Graham County at the second-lowest.
There have been three COVID-19 related deaths in Graham (2) and Greenlee (1) counties, and all three of them are related to the same cluster that appeared to have caught the virus while undergoing dialysis treatment in Safford. All three individuals were elderly as well as having underlying health conditions. A fourth, younger dialysis patient, was flown to a Tucson hospital for treatment and has since recovered.