Health Department reports three more dead from COVID-19

Contributed Photo/Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau

By Jon Johnson

Active caseload lessened to about 400

SAFFORD – Graham County ended the year with three COVID-19 deaths for a total of 159 for the course of the pandemic (33 in the month of December alone). 

The overwhelming majority of deaths have been from elderly people, with 111 being from those 65 years or older (including these last three); 26 deaths have been those 55-65; 14 deaths have been those 45-54, and seven Graham County residents between 20-44 have had deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.    

On Monday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services listed just 53 new confirmed cases over the past week (mostly from the Safford zip code), to increase its total for the pandemic to 8,989 confirmed cases with 159 deaths. Graham County has 403 currently active cases and 8,427 recoveries. Graham County has a COVID-19 death rate of 1.77 percent per confirmed case. The state average is 1.73 percent.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Graham County has a COVID-19 rate of 23,362 cases per 100,000 population. That is good for the second-worst rate out of any of Arizona’s 15 counties, just behind Navajo County, which has a rate of 24,245 per 100,000 population. Apache County is the third-worst with a rate of 22,827 per 100,000 population.

Greenlee County still has the lowest rate of cases by county in the state with 14,488 per 100,000 population. Greenlee is followed by Cochise County with 15,501 cases per 100,000 population and Yavapai County with 15,805 cases per 100,000 population. The state’s average is 19,538 cases per 100,000 population. 

Greenlee currently has 140 active cases and has had 27 deaths and 1,380 recoveries from 1,547 total cases for the pandemic. 

While some cases are asymptomatic or improve within a week or two, other cases have lingered with mild to severe effects for months and even more than a year, while it proves fatal to others. While those who have already had the virus and survived likely have natural antibodies to fight the virus from quickly returning, for those who have not had the virus the best way to avoid catching it is to be vaccinated.

The ADHS recently put out new data regarding rates of COVID-19 by vaccination statusClick here to go through the data, which states that in October unvaccinated people had nearly a 4 times greater chance of contracting COVID-19 and 15 times greater risk of dying from it. 

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services offers free vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson and has booster shots for those 18 and over. Additionally, children 5 and up can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and adults can have any of the three. The health department provides the vaccine Mondays from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Thursdays from 2 – 5 p.m., and the Pfizer vaccine for those 5 and older on Thursdays from 5 – 7:30 p.m. and Fridays from 2 – 5 p.m. Click here to register to receive a vaccine. Vaccines are also available at local pharmacies and, in Greenlee County, at Gila Health Resources.