Health department calls for increased vigilance due to rise in COVID-19 cases

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services is calling for increased vigilance due to the increase of positive test results for COVID-19 in Graham County.

On Wednesday, the health department reported 10 new cases of COVID-19, with seven from Safford, two from Thatcher, and one from the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The new cases put the county’s total at 1,063 for the course of the pandemic, with 767 recovered, 269 active, and 27 deaths.  

“We are strongly encouraging our residents to be more vigilant in wearing facial masks, to social distance, avoid large gatherings, stay home when sick, and get your flu shot,” a news release from the health department stated.  “These mitigation efforts greatly reduce the risks of becoming ill or infecting others.”

“Evidence to-date indicates that children 18 and under experience a mild form of this illness similar to a cold. Those who have serious illness tend to be older adults and those with chronic health conditions.”

“The health department is advising that individuals who are sick with fever, shortness of breath and cough should contact their health care provider.  Health care providers are in the best position to determine if an individual should be tested for COVID-19.  Make sure you contact your health care provider ahead of time, if possible, to avoid exposing anyone in the waiting room.”

General things that everyone should do to prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses include:

  • Wear facial masks.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular EPA registered household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Find up to date information at azhealth.gov/COVID-19.

A free testing blitz will be held at the Graham County Fairgrounds on Friday from 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. Click here for details.  

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 231 who are under 20 years of age, 457 between 20-44, 118 between 45-54, 102 between 55-64, and 154 who are 65 years old or older.

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department reported a new positive tests on Tuesday, raising its total to 82.

As of Tuesday, the health department has administered tests to 1,473 people, with 1,391 being negative, and 82 positives. The county has 20 active cases, 60 recovered cases, and two deaths. Greenlee County has about 10,000 residents.

The breakdown of the Greenlee cases includes five under the age of 20, 44 between 20-44, 18 between 45-54, 11 between 55-64, and four who are 65 years old or older, according to the ADHS. Greenlee County currently has a total positivity rate of 4.3 percent and is in the green, minimal transmission status for both school and business metrics.

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 Wednesday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 28 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 10,151 people with 8,485 negatives, 1,528 positives, and 138 results pending.

The Tribe lists 234 currently active cases, with 1,277 recovered cases, and 17 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 268 positive, 197 recovered, 66 active, five deaths; Peridot – 526 positive, 418 recovered, 99 active, nine deaths; 7-Mile – 316 positive, 276 recovered, 38 active, two deaths; Bylas – 331 positive, 305 recovered, 25 active, one death; other areas – 87 positive, 81 recovered, six active.   

Statewide

For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 975 new cases Tuesday to bring the total to 233,912 for the state. It reported 17 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,854 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents and nearly two million tests have been taken.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 151,526, Pima County – 27,128, Yuma County – 13,297, Pinal County – 11,538, Navajo County – 6,197, Coconino County – 4,814, Mohave County – 4,223, Apache County – 3,810, Santa Cruz County – 2,961, Yavapai County – 2,814, Cochise County – 2,075, Gila County – 1,777, Graham County – 1,063, La Paz County – 606, Greenlee County – 82.

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