Safford sees first COVID-19 death of resident under the age of 20

Arizona passes 800,000 total cases and 15,000 deaths for the pandemic

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – Graham County has registered its first COVID-19 death under the age of 20.

On Wednesday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported the death of a Safford resident under the age of 20 attributed to COVID-19. 

Graham County registered 14 deaths in January attributed to COVID-19, giving the county 19 for 2021 and 70 for the course of the pandemic.

New positive tests for COVID-19 have slowed down considerably for Graham County, especially when tests from prisons are not included. On Wednesday, the Graham County Department of Health and Human Services reported just four new positive tests; two from the Safford zip code and two from the Thatcher zip code.

Graham County has now had 5,232 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 940 active cases, 4,222 recovered cases, and 70 deaths. Graham County has the third-lowest overall death count with La Paz County (67) and Greenlee County (8) having less. La Paz County has about half the population of Graham County, and Greenlee has about a quarter of the population. Graham County has also had more than twice as many confirmed cases of COVID-19 than La Paz, yet only three more deaths.    

Arizona has been reported as one of the hotspots of the world for new COVID-19 cases, and Graham County is the fourth-highest county with the most cases per population. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 Data Dashboard, as of Wednesday, Graham County was listed as having a percentage of 13,598 cases per 100,000 residents. Even with the influx of cases in correctional facilities, however, Graham County is still behind Yuma County (15,724 per 100,000), Santa Cruz County (14,273 per 100,000), and Apache County (14,160 per 100,000), and is just in front of Navajo County (13,561 per 100,000) in the rate of transmission per population. Conversely, Greenlee County – where there are no correctional facilities – has the lowest rate in Arizona with 5,281 per 100,000, according to Tuesday’s numbers from the ADHS, the state average is 11,142 per 100,000. 

Graham County’s demographics of cases include 723 under the age of 20, 2,586 between the ages of 20-44, 796 between the ages of 45-54, 559 between the ages of 55-64, 559 who are 65 years old or older, and nine who are unknown.

Click here to learn about how to schedule a vaccination appointment in Graham County if you are an essential worker. 

Greenlee County 

Greenlee County listed two new deaths attributed to COVID-19 late Monday night to increase its total to eight. According to the release, one victim was from the Morenci area and the other was from the Duncan area. The victims were in their 60s and 80s. 

Greenlee County also previously added three new COVID-19 cases on Monday to increase its total to 550, with 494 recovered, 48 active cases, and eight deaths.

As of Tuesday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered 4,832 tests, with 4,282 negative results, and 550 positive results.


On Wednesday, the ADHS listed 1,315 new cases to bring its total for the pandemic to 801,055 in Arizona. The department added 82 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Wednesday, raising the total for Arizona at 15,063 dead attributed to COVID-19. 

The breakdown of total cases by county includes Maricopa with 500,631, Pima – 107,401, Pinal – 45,019, Yuma – 36,160, Mohave – 20,624, Yavapai – 16,765, Coconino – 16,088, Navajo – 15,301, Cochise – 10,859, Apache – 10,168, Santa Cruz – 7,588, Gila – 6,307, Graham – 5,243, La Paz – 2,364, and Greenlee – 548 (county lists it at 550).