Graham County sees lowest number of COVID-19 positive tests in months

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services has reported the lowest amount of new cases in a week since June when Graham County only had 55 total cases.

Over the past nine days from Sept. 7 – 15, Graham County has only reported 13 new positive tests to put its current total at 776.

The total is the third lowest out of Arizona’s 15 counties, with only La Paz County (527) and Greenlee County (58) being lower.  

Graham County’s new positive test cases has decreased significantly over the past two weeks.

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. Graham County will likely meet all three benchmarks for both businesses and schools when the ADHS’ new datasheet is released Thursday.

As of Tuesday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 776 total confirmed cases, with 579 recovered and 173 active. 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.

Testing Blitz

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

The testing blitz will utilize a saliva-based test and will collect saliva samples in a tube. 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.

Schedule an appointment:
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.
Individuals will be available at the COVID-19 testing site to address questions you have
pertaining to the sample collection process.

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

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 Monday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered tests to 1,201 people, with 1,100 being negative, 58 positives, and 43 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.

Recently, there was a free COVID-19 drive-through testing at Gila Health Resources on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Greenlee County has passed all the benchmarks for both businesses and schools.   

San Carlos Apache Tribe

Terry Rambler Photo/Facebook: San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler sports a UofA facemask and encourages others to follow his example.

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 five new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 6,725 people with 5,744 negatives, 895 positives, and 86 results pending.

The Tribe lists 79 currently active cases, with 806 recovered cases, and 10 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 127 positive, 115 recovered, eight active, four deaths; Peridot – 292 positive, 266 recovered, 21 active, five deaths; 7-Mile – 147  positive, 119 recovered, 27 active, one death; Bylas – 260 positive, 250 recovered, 10 active; other areas – 69 positive, 56 recovered, 13 active.   

Statewide

For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported just 484 new cases Tuesday to bring the total to 200,209 for the state. It reported 22 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,344 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 137,870, Pima County – 22,643, Yuma County – 12,430, Pinal County – 10,198, Navajo County – 5,704, Mohave County – 3,798, Coconino County – 3,565, Apache County – 3,395, Santa Cruz County – 2,787, Yavapai County – 2,429, Cochise County – 1,861, Gila County – 1,168, Graham County – 776, La Paz County – 527, Greenlee County – 58.

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