Graham County still seeing new positive COVID-19 tests but trending downward

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – After going two straight days with no new positive tests, Graham County registered three new positives Monday and 17 new positives Tuesday to increase its total to 734 for the course of the pandemic. The total is the third lowest out of Arizona’s 15 counties, with only La Paz County (498) and Greenlee County (58) being lower.  

Graham County started last week out with 25 new positive tests and only recorded single digits Tuesday through Friday with zero new cases Saturday and Sunday, giving the county just 45 new cases last week – down from the 64 from the previous week.

The lowering number of cases is required for businesses to reopen from Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order mandate.

As of Tuesday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports that 3,883 people had been tested, with 2,973 negatives, and 734 positives since the start of the pandemic in March, with six tests pending results. The recovered cases (445) is now much greater than the number of active cases (267). 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 22 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 127 who are under 20 years of age, 322 between 20-44, 77 between 45-54, 82 between 55-64, and 126 who are 65 years old or older. The state’s database lists 18 new positives from Tuesday and has Graham County’s total at 735.

Greenlee County

Greenlee County has passed all the COVID-19 benchmarks set by the state and can reopen all of its previously shuttered businesses due to Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order.

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 Tuesday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered tests to 1,071 people, with 982 being negative, 58 positives, and 31 results pending. The county lists 3 active cases, 53 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.

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 Monday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe unanimously voted to implement its Phase 2 reopening plan Sept. 8. The Tribal Council also unanimously voted open the Rainbow City checkpoint, make every day an “Essential Day”, allow crowd gatherings up to 50 people, open parks and recreation facilities from 3 – 8 p.m., and to change the curfew hours to 10 p.m. – 5 a.m.

On Tuesday morning, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 11 new positive COVID-19 tests. The Tribe has administered tests to 6,150 people with 5,316 negatives, 784 positives, and 50 results pending.

The Tribe lists 74 currently active cases, with 701 recovered cases, and nine deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 119 positive, 111 recovered, four active, four deaths; Peridot – 269 positive, 234 recovered, 30 active, five deaths; 7-Mile – 115  positive, 111 recovered, four active; Bylas – 225 positive, 194 recovered, 31 active; other areas – 56 positive, 51 recovered, five active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported just 519 new cases Wednesday to bring the total to 202,861 for the state. It reported 21 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to 5,547 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 134,346, Pima County – 21,294, Yuma County – 12,264, Pinal County – 9,690, Navajo County – 5,625, Mohave County – 3,651, Apache County – 3,351, Coconino County – 3,346, Santa Cruz County – 2,732, Yavapai County – 2,324, Cochise County – 1,830, Gila County – 1,117, Graham County – 734 (735 on state’s database), La Paz County – 498, Greenlee County – 58.

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