Graham County sees additional COVID-19 death

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: An additional Graham County resident’s death has been attributed to COVID-19. Greenlee County has issued a mask mandate for the common areas of county-owned properties.

Greenlee County issues mask mandate for county-owned buildings

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced a new death attributed to COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county’s total for the pandemic to 89. 

With six new confirmed cases reported Wednesday (four from the Safford zip code and one each from the Thatcher and Pima/Bylas zip codes) the total number of confirmed cases in Graham County since the start of the pandemic is now at 5,756, with 117 active cases, 5,550 recovered cases and 89 deaths. For Graham County, that equates to a 98.5 % survival rate. Additionally, the majority of those who have died from COVID-19 in Graham County have been either elderly, had a pre-existing health condition, or both.

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services is now offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which has been given approval for use with those as young as 12. The Pfizer vaccine has been available elsewhere in Graham County but is now also being provided by the health department.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Graham County has administered vaccines to 30 percent of the population of the county. When other vaccination deployments are added, including the area’s three prisons, the Centers for Disease Control lists Graham County as having a fully vaccinated population of 45.6 percent as of Wednesday, with 55.4 percent of the population 12 and older being fully vaccinated, and 60.5 percent of the population 18 and older being fully vaccinated. The most endangered age group, those 65 years old and older, have a fully vaccinated rate of 89.7 percent, with 97.1 percent having at least one dose.  

In addition to the health department providing free COVID-19 vaccine, the various vaccines are readily available at grocery stores for free and San Carlos Apache Healthcare will have a free COVID-19 vaccine pop-up at Fort Thomas High School on Wednesday, from 4 – 6:30 p.m. Three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines, will be available. 

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department reported 5 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, pushing its active cases to 48.  

Greenlee has a total of 646 confirmed cases for the course of the pandemic, with 588 recoveries, 48 active cases, and 10 deaths.

The increase of cases has prompted the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to mandate masks be worn in the common areas of all county buildings, including the courthouse.  

New legislation set to be enacted next month prohibits counties and cities and schools from issuing mandatory mask mandates. However, the entities may set their own mitigation policies for any properties they own. 

COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer for those 12 and older, are available from the Greenlee County Health Department for free.