Graham County tops 1,000 cases of COVID-19

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – After diminishing for the first week of October, Graham County’s COVID-19 cases have trended upward for most of the rest of the month and now totals 1,007 for the course of the pandemic.

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported 30 new positive results for COVID-19 on Friday, pushing the county’s total to 1,007. The new cases include 14 from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, 11 from Safford, three from Thatcher, and two from Pima.

Cases previously spiked in late September, and had been diminishing until the recent uptake for the past few weeks.

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 9.7 percent.

The latest release from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) shows Graham County has not met two of the 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 are headed the wrong direction and possibly change for the worse in the coming weeks. The new data on the metrics is released every Thursday.  

As of Friday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 1,007 total confirmed cases, with 750 recovered and 231 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 217 who are under 20 years of age, 429 between 20-44, 113 between 45-54, 98 between 55-64, and 149 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 a new positive COVID-19 test on Thursday to increase its number to 67. As of Thursday, the health department had administered tests to 1,405 people, with 1,293 being negative, and 45 results pending. The county has eight active cases, 57 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, 39 between 20-44, 13 between 45-54, nine between 55-64, and four who are 65 years old or older. Greenlee County currently has a total positivity rate of 4.2 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 64 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 9,336 people with 7,635 negatives, 1,383 positives, and 318 results pending.

The Tribe lists 208 currently active cases, with 1,161 recovered cases, and 14 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 234 positive, 172 recovered, 57 active, five deaths; Peridot – 456 positive, 369 recovered, 80 active, seven deaths; 7-Mile – 296 positive, 249 recovered, 45 active, two deaths; Bylas – 314 positive, 295 recovered, 19 active; other areas – 83 positive, 76 recovered, seven active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 738 new cases Friday to bring the total to 229,486 for the state. It reported 17 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,806 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 148,612, Pima County – 26,769, Yuma County – 13,123, Pinal County – 11,242, Navajo County – 6,136, Coconino County – 4,643, Mohave County – 4,156, Apache County – 3,751, Santa Cruz County – 2,936, Yavapai County – 2,753, Cochise County – 2,015, Gila County – 1,694, Graham County – 1,007, La Paz County – 581, Greenlee County – 67.

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