New reservation COVID-19 cases more than double any other area in Graham County

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported 17 new positive results for COVID-19 on Thursday, with 10 of those positives coming from the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

Numbers from the reservation that affect Graham County come from Bylas and the surrounding area inside Graham County. Numbers from Peridot and San Carlos mostly are attributed to Gila County due to where the county line is at the Peridot bridge.

The new results lifted Graham County’s total to 868 for the course of the pandemic. Out of the new cases, 10 came from the San Carlos Apache Tribe (SCAT), four from Safford, and three from Pima. The health department has added 51 new cases for Graham County in the past three days, with 27 of them coming from the SCAT.

Lowering the number of cases is required for shuttered businesses to reopen from Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order mandate. As of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) most recent metrics, Graham County has a current total positivity rate of 9.2 percent.

While the latest release from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) shows Graham County has met all three benchmarks for school reopening – which is only a recommendation – the numbers are two weeks behind and do not include the most recent increases. The business reopening metrics, which are required, are currently in the yellow or “moderate” level, which allows for the reopening of most previously shuttered businesses. However, those metrics could possibly change for the worse in the coming weeks.  

As of Wednesday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 868 total confirmed cases, with 690 recovered and 153 actives. According to GCDHHS criteria, a positive test is not considered a recovered patient until they have 30 days symptom-free. Graham County has about 39,000 residents.

A total of 25 people, mostly all over the age of 65 and who had pre-existing health conditions, have died with COVID-19 in Graham County. 

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 171 who are under 20 years of age, 372 between 20-44, 99 between 45-54, 89 between 55-64, and 136 who are 65 years old or older.

Greenlee County

After going a month-and-a-half without any new cases, the Greenlee County Health Department reported a new positive COVID-19 test last week.

As of Wednesday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered tests to 1,287 people, with 1,216 being negative, 59 positives, and nine results pending. The county has one active case, 56 recovered cases, and two deaths. Greenlee County has about 10,000 residents.

The breakdown of the Greenlee cases includes three under the age of 20, 35 between 20-44, 10 between 45-54, seven between 55-64, and four who are 65 years old or older. Greenlee County currently has a total positivity rate of 3.9 percent, according to the ADHS.

San Carlos Apache Tribe

The San Carlos Apache Tribe stretches into both Graham and Gila counties and its cases add to the respective counties’ cases based on the geography of where the patients reside.

On Wednesday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 24 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered tests to 7,719 people with 6,470 negatives, 1,078 positives, and 171 results pending.

The Tribe lists 137 currently active cases, with 930 recovered cases, and 11 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 159 positive, 132 recovered, 23 active, four deaths; Peridot – 334 positive, 289 recovered, 39 active, six deaths; 7-Mile – 226 positive, 174 recovered, 51 active, one death; Bylas – 284 positive, 265 recovered, 19 active; other areas – 75 positive, 70 recovered, five active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 705 new cases Wednesday to bring the total to 219,212 for the state. It reported 24 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 5,674 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 142,287, Pima County – 25,706, Yuma County – 12,765, Pinal County – 10,672, Navajo County – 5,802, Coconino County – 4,198, Mohave County – 4,017, Apache County – 3,569, Santa Cruz County – 2,857, Yavapai County – 2,583, Cochise County – 1,912, Gila County – 1,372, Graham County – 868, La Paz County – 545, Greenlee County – 59.