By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Since the start of the pandemic, there have now been 21 positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 in Graham County.
The Graham County Department of Health issued an update Tuesday night, advising of an additional three positive tests. Prior to that, two tests that had been listed as positive were removed; one for the patient living more in Pinal County, and the other because the patient tested negative on the PCR (nose swab) test while positive for antibodies. That means the patient had COVID-19, didn’t know it and it went through the patient before getting tested for it. That patient had multiple other family members who tested positive on the PCR test.
The three new results are from tribal members who are currently residing in other counties. The health department reports that none of the cases appeared to be infected locally or on tribal land. The cases are listed for Graham County because cases are counted in the county that the ill person identifies as their permanent place of residence.
Throughout the pandemic, Graham County has had only one local hospitalization and zero deaths. The ages of those who have tested positive on the PCR test are five under the age of 20, 11 between 35 – 55, and seven who are 65 or older.
Graham County has administered 397 PCR tests to date with 376 being negative, 21 positives, and seven tests are currently pending.
On Tuesday, Governor Doug Ducey announced that Arizona was moving in the right direction with the percentage of positive cases lowering each day and reopened gyms and pools while stressing the importance of continuing to practice physical distancing. The executive stay at home order ends Friday and will be replaced with the new executive order “Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger” advises vulnerable adults to remain at home and encourages all Arizonans to continue to practice physical distancing.
As of Tuesday night, the Greenlee Health Department is reporting no new cases. Greenlee County has had just its two cases that have been resolved nearly a month ago.
Greenlee has administered 118 PCR tests with 112 negative results, the two positives, and has four tests pending.
In total, Arizona has had 12,176 cases, with 594 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. That includes Maricopa County with 6,341 cases, Pima County – 1,661, Navajo County – 1,099, Apache County – 817, Coconino County – 772, Pinal County – 643, Yuma County – 243, Yavapai County – 227, Mohave County – 213, Santa Cruz County – 50, Cochise County – 43, La Paz County – 25, Graham County – 21, Gila County – 19, and Greenlee County – 2.
General things that everyone should do to prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses include:
● 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.
● Wear a facemask when in public.
● When shopping, limit the number of people who you take with you. If possible, pick one person from your household to do the shopping.
● Find up to date information at azhealth.gov/COVID-19 and at