Hospital requests community support amid COVID-19 case uptick

Contributed Photo/Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau

Graham County sees first COVID-19 death of the year

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – Amid anticipated record daily COVID-19 cases due to the more contagious Omicron variant, the Mount Graham Regional Medical Center is requesting the community help lower transmission rates. 

“Our healthcare workers are stretched thin,” a statement from the hospital read. “Each of them has given their all every day for almost two years to keep our community members safe. We want to be here for you when you need us. Care in our hospital is safe, but our ability to provide safe care is in jeopardy and we need your help.” 

The hospital is requesting community members practice recommended precautions in public and take COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots along with a seasonal flu shot. “These will help you avoid serious illnesses,” the statement read.

For the week ending Jan. 11, the hospital averaged four COVID-19 patients each day for the previous two weeks, according to its own data. The percent of patients hospitalized during that same time period who have not taken any COVID-19 vaccines was 89.5%.  

While the Omicron variant has shown to be more transmissible it also has shown milder symptoms and is located more in the upper respiratory tract with cough and cold symptoms. Previously, COVID-19 and its variants have been more dangerous – especially to those who are elderly, obese or have pre-existing medical conditions. Those variants attacked victims’ lower respiratory tract. 

On Saturday, the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 data tracker listed the first death of the year attributed to COVID-19 for Graham County. 

The data tracker also listed 48 new COVID-19 cases in Graham County on Monday, increasing the total number of cases for the pandemic to 9,741 with 160 deaths. 

The ADHS put out data regarding rates of COVID-19 by vaccination statusClick here to go through the data, which states that in November unvaccinated people had nearly a 5 times greater chance of contracting COVID-19 and 31 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 such as Palo Verde Pharmacy in Pima, and, in Greenlee County, at Gila Health Resources.

Greenlee County

According to the Greenlee County Health Department, the county had 24 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, which followed 24 new cases on Saturday as well to put its total for the pandemic to 1,858. 

As of Sunday, Greenlee County had roughly 309 active cases while it registered 1,519 recoveries and 30 deaths for the course of the pandemic.

Greenlee County still has the lowest rate of cases by county in the state with 16,963 per 100,000 population. Greenlee is followed by Yavapai County with 17,275 cases per 100,000 population and Cochise County with 17,651 cases per 100,000 population. The state’s average is 22,560 cases per 100,000 population.     

MGRMC is a Level IV Trauma Center that works with local air transportation agencies when necessary to transfer patients to a higher-level trauma center.  

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