Graham County sees surge in COVID-19 cases

Twenty new cases raise the total to 927, with 737 recovered and 26 deaths

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – After diminishing for the first week of October, Graham County’s COVID-19 cases had a spike Friday with the release of 20 new cases.  

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported 20 new positive results for COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the county’s total to 927 for the course of the pandemic. The new cases include eight from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, five from both Safford and Thatcher, and two from Pima.

Cases previously spiked in late September, and had been diminishing as of late.

Lowering the number of cases is required for shuttered businesses to reopen from Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order mandate. As of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) most recent metrics, Graham County has a current total positivity rate of 9.3 percent, which is just under the state average of 10.2 percent.

While the latest release from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) shows Graham County has met all three benchmarks for school reopening – which is only a recommendation – the numbers are two weeks behind and do not include the most recent increases. The business reopening metrics, which are required, are currently in the yellow or “moderate” level, which allows for the reopening of most previously shuttered businesses. However, those metrics could possibly change for the worse in the coming weeks. The new data on the metrics will be released Thursday.  

As of Friday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 927 total confirmed cases, with 737 recovered and 164 actives. 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 26 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 GCDHHS. 

The state’s database lists Graham County’s positive test cases include 191 who are under 20 years of age, 394 between 20-44, 105 between 45-54, 92 between 55-64, and 144 who are 65 years old or older.

Greenlee County

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Volunteers hand out masks at an event in Morenci. Greenlee County’s mask mandate will be reviewed by the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 20. If not renewed, it will expire Oct. 22.

The Greenlee County Health Department reported two new positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday and to increase its number to 62. The health department has administered tests to 1,339 people, with 1,233 being negative, 62 positives, and 44 results pending. The county has four active cases, 56 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, 36 between 20-44, 11 between 45-54, eight between 55-64, and four who are 65 years old or older. Greenlee County currently has a total positivity rate of 3.8 percent, according to the ADHS.

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 16 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 8,431 people with 7,123 negatives, 1,168 positives, and 140 results pending.

The Tribe lists 103 currently active cases, with 1,052 recovered cases, and 13 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 175 positive, 152 recovered, 19 active, four deaths; Peridot – 372 positive, 329 recovered, 36 active, seven deaths; 7-Mile – 247 positive, 217 recovered, 28 active, two deaths; Bylas – 297 positive, 282 recovered, 15 active; other areas – 77 positive, 72 recovered, five active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 683 new cases Friday to bring the total to 224,084 for the state. It reported just three new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,746 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 145,298, Pima County – 26,287, Yuma County – 12,941, Pinal County – 10,973, Navajo County – 5,874, Coconino County – 4,401, Mohave County – 4,078, Apache County – 3,654, Santa Cruz County – 2,900, Yavapai County – 2,682, Cochise County – 1,944, Gila County – 1,500, Graham County – 927, La Paz County – 563, Greenlee County – 62.


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