Hospital and health department urge residents to adhere to mask regulation

Jon Johnson File Photo: The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services and Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center urges residents to adhere to the mask regulation to wear masks in public to help reduce the chance of catching COVID-19. Here, Pamela Evans shows off some of the more than 3,000 masks she has made and donated.

Contributed Article/Courtesy MGRMC/GCDHHS

GRAHAM COUNTY – Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC) and the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services (GCDHHS) continue to urge Graham County residents to adhere to the mask regulation supported unanimously by the towns of Pima and Thatcher and unanimously passed by the Graham County Board of Supervisors.

MGRMC continues to experience unprecedented numbers as a result of the ongoing pandemic and its current spike. The county also is seeing numbers that are cause for great concern in the coming weeks. Today, Graham County’s 100 positive cases per 100,000 residents is five times greater than the state’s cautionary threshold and for the projected future, our percent positivity rate will be over 25%, which is twice that of the state average. Hospital admissions continue to place our hospital consistently at or near capacity. Our rolling five day average of positive COVID patients in the hospital continues to hover above 14 while our non-COVID related patient load remains consistent with expectations for this time of year.

Of greatest concern to both the county and the hospital is the likelihood of a continued spike due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Hospital staff continues to be stretched thin and options for additional staff from outside of our area to help with the surge are not proving readily available. As the COVID-like illness rate’s trajectory continues to increase expeditiously in our region, staffing and capacity at the hospital continue to be the greatest concern our county faces.

Both the Graham County Health Department and Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center once again thank those community leaders who have supported and passed a county-wide mask regulation. It is imperative that county residents abide by the regulation in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The greater health of our community truly depends on it.