Health department to hold third testing blitz this Friday

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci resident Jason Palmer tilts his head back to await insertion of a nasopharyngeal swab at an earlier testing blitz in Clifton. Greenlee County Health Department nurse Janice Lovett, one of six nurses on hand, administered the Covid-19 virus test. The new testing blitz done by the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services utilizes a saliva test instead of the nasal test shown here.

Contributed Article/Courtesy GCDHHS

SAFFORD – We have once again entered into an agreement with Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute to provide SARS-CoV-2 (COVID 19) testing, utilizing a simple saliva collection method for our community.

Testing helps the community by lowering the positivity rate, which is necessary to pass one of the three benchmarks set by the Arizona Department of Health Services to allow certain businesses to be open. The first testing blitz resulted in seven positives out of 170 tested (4 percent positivity rate) and the second blitz resulted in six positives out of 190 tested (3 percent positivity rate). Graham County’s current positivity rate is 9.9 percent. If it goes above 10 percent for two consecutive weeks, it could put the county into the “substantial” transmission category rather than the “moderate” level it is currently in, which allows for the reopening of certain businesses that have been shuttered. The last weekly metrics from the ADHS available shows Graham County with a 12.5 percent positivity for the week of Sept. 27.

Anyone who wants to be tested. You do not have to be sick or showing signs.

Friday, Oct. 23 from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Graham County Fairgrounds
527 Armory Rd., Safford, AZ 85546

Schedule an appointment:

Online registration is strongly encouraged, but walk-ins (drive-ins) will still be accepted.

  • Register for an appointment with your cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
  • Log in:
  • Agency code: SALIVATEST
  • Once logged in to the portal, click on “Appointments” to request an available appointment time
  • Arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
  • If you have any scheduling issues, please email

Important guidelines

  • You must wear a protective face covering – either cloth or surgical mask.
  • Bring the QR code you receive after scheduling your test appointment.
  • 30 minutes before your appointment, rinse your mouth with plain water for 20-30 seconds, and then spit the water out.
  • Do not eat, drink (even water), smoke, vape, or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to your appointment time (any of these factors may cause an invalid test and/or your test may be rejected by clinical personnel at site collection). Tip: Staying well hydrated by drinking water the day before and up to 30 minutes prior to your test will speed your saliva collection process.
  • Results will be available via the portal approximately 48 hours from your testing time.

If you have questions, please contact the Graham County Health Department at 428-0110.

This event is sponsored by Graham/Greenlee United Way, Arizona State University, Arizona National Guard, and the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services.

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