Safford’s COVID-19 numbers continue to be affected by prisons

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services (GCDHHS) announced 99 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 90 of them coming from the Safford zip code. The department also announced, however, that cases from the local prisons continue to contribute to Safford’s total.

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry, its Safford state prisons have 310 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from its inmates and 135 inmates recovered. According to the Bureau of Prisons, FCI-Safford currently has 71 active cases from its inmates, with 560 recovered. It also lists 22 active cases from employees and three recovered.

The GCDHHS listed 99 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with 90 from Safford, five from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and two each from Thatcher and Pima.

The new positive tests pushed Graham County’s total to 4,170, with 2,492 listed as recovered, 1,622 currently active, and 56 deaths. Around 350 currently active cases are from the area’s prisons.  

Arizona has been reported as the hotspot of the world for new COVID-19 cases, and Graham County is in the upper third of counties with the most cases per population. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 Data Dashboard, Graham County was listed as having a percentage of 10,837 cases per 100,000 residents. Even with the most recent influx of cases in correctional facilities, however, Graham County is still behind Yuma County (13,766 per 100,000),  Santa Cruz County (12,772 per 100,000), Apache County (11,635 per 100,000), and Navajo County (11,392 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 4,472 per 100,000, according to Sunday’s numbers from the ADHS, and the state average is 8,848 per 100,000. 

Graham County’s demographics of cases include 623 under the age of 20, 2,006 between the ages of 20-44, 612 between the ages of 45-54, 447 between the ages of 55-64, 473 who are 65 years old or older, and nine who are unknown. 

Greenlee County

Greenlee County added seven new COVID-19 cases on Monday to increase its total to 471, with 288 recovered, 179 active cases, and four deaths. 

Greenlee County has had two COVID-19 deaths from the Duncan area and two from the Clifton area. The most recent COVID-19 death was in a resident from the Clifton area.

As of Monday, the Greenlee County Health Department has administered 4,093 tests, with 3,622 negative results, and 471 positive results.


On Tuesday, the ADHS listed 8,848 new cases to bring its total for the pandemic to 636,100 in Arizona. The department also listed 335 new deaths on Tuesday, to bring the total for Arizona to 10,482 dead attributed to COVID-19. There are also more than 5,000 current hospitalizations.

The breakdown of total cases by county includes Maricopa with 393,732, Pima – 84,426, Pinal – 34,653, Yuma – 31,685, Mohave – 15,790, Yavapai – 13,854, Coconino – 13,089, Navajo – 12,854, Cochise – 9,232, Apache – 8,355, Santa Cruz – 6,790, Gila – 5,147, Graham – 4,170, La Paz – 1,885, and Greenlee – 464 (county lists it at 471).

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