November sees biggest increase in COVID-19 cases in Graham County with Thanksgiving on the horizon

County lists 1,873 total cases, with 1,034 recovered, 806 actives, and 33 deaths

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD –On Saturday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced 58 new positive tests in Graham County to push the total for the pandemic to 1,873. The new positive tests include 27 from Safford, 15 from Thatcher, 12 from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, three from Pima, and one from Fort Thomas. Safford has nearly twice the population of Thatcher and four times that of Pima.  

After having its biggest increase of cases in one month in October (408), Graham County has now surpassed that mark with 639 new positive tests in the first 21 days of November alone.

As of Friday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,873 total confirmed cases, with 1,034 recovered and 806 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. About 4.8 percent of Graham County has tested positive for COVID-19, with the currently active number at 2 percent.

A total of 33 people, nearly all over the age of 65 and who had pre-existing health conditions, have died with COVID-19 in Graham County. About 1.8 percent of those who have tested positive for the virus in Graham County have died after contracting it. There were currently eight patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center on Tuesday.

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 407 who are under 20 years of age, 801 between 20-44, 212 between 45-54, 197 between 55-64, and 251 who are 65 years old or older.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey previously put out a statement advising limiting the number of people at gatherings, encouraging the wearing of masks, physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when sick. He said previous mitigation measures, including responsible physical distancing, reduced occupancy, and mask requirements and compliance, continue to help protect public health but did not suggest further mitigation measures, such as closing down bars, in-person dining, or requiring schools to go to distance learning.  

“The more we practice these good behaviors, the more we can protect those we treasure most while also living in this new normal,” Ducey said.

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department listed four new positive tests on Friday to raise its total for the pandemic to 171.

The health department has administered tests to 2,219 people as of Friday, with 2,048 being negative, and 171 positives, according to the department. The county has 78 active cases, 91 recovered cases, and two deaths. Greenlee County has about 10,000 residents.

The breakdown of the Greenlee cases currently listed on the ADHS’ data dashboard (which only shows 171 positives currently) includes 17 under the age of 20, 91 between 20-44, 31 between 45-54, 20 between 55-64, and 12 who are 65 years old or older.

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 Friday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 50 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered 14,030 tests with 11,370 negatives, 2,499 positives, and 161 results pending.

The Tribe lists 313 currently active cases, with 2,158 recovered cases, and 28 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 426 positive, 351 recovered, 64 active, 11 deaths; Peridot – 810 positive, 700 recovered, 99 active, 11 deaths; 7-Mile – 503 positive, 432 recovered, 66 active, five deaths; Bylas – 605 positive, 544 recovered, 60 active, one death; other areas – 155 positive, 131 recovered, 24 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 3,638 new cases Saturday to bring the total to 295,334 for the state. It reported 30 new deaths to bring the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 6,457 in Arizona. The state has about 7.3 million residents and nearly two million tests have been taken.  

Reported positive cases in the various counties include Maricopa County with 187,636, Pima County – 35,237, Yuma County – 16,307, Pinal County – 15,009, Navajo County – 7,537, Coconino County – 6,865, Mohave County – 5,593, Apache County – 4,886, Yavapai County – 4,261, Santa Cruz County – 3,524, Cochise County – 3,079, Gila County – 2,612, Graham County – 1,873, La Paz County – 744, Greenlee County – 171.

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