State COVID-19 cases surge past 2,500

Navajo County hardest rural county hit/Graham and Greenlee counties still see no increase

By Jon Johnson

PHOENIX – The total number of positive tests for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 increased to 2,575 on Tuesday with 73 deaths, as reported by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). 

The most populous county, Maricopa County, has nearly 1,500 of those cases with 1,495, followed by the second-most populous county, Pima County, with 415. Rural Navajo County has the third-highest total of cases with 222, followed by Coconino County – 179, and Pinal County – 120. The numbers then severely drop off from there, starting with Yapapai County – 57, Apache County – 29, Mohave County – 23, Yuma County – 13, Cochise County – 9, Santa Cruz County – 5, La Paz County – 3, Gila County – 3, Graham County – 2, and Greenlee County – 1. 

As far as testing, the ADHS reports 33,275 tests performed, with 113 done in Graham County and 42 in Greenlee County. 

Graham County Health Department Director Brian Douglas informed the Gila Herald that he expects to receive 3,500 rapid test kits within the next couple of weeks that can provide a result in 15- to 20-minutes versus having to wait four or five days for a result. The kits are paid for by a $65,000 grant from the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties and are reportedly about 89 percent accurate. 

Graham County hasn’t seen a new positive test in more than two weeks and the previous two patients who tested positive have made a full recovery. The time when they were infected was nearly a month ago.

On Friday, Arizona Rep. Kelly Towsend, R-Mesa, the mayors of Florence and Apache Junction, along with two Apache Junction council members and a Pinal County Supervisor sued the Arizona Department of Health Services and Pinal County Health Department for an emergency release of general data relating to positive COVID-19 cases so officials could better map where sick patients live and have been. Officials say the information is needed in the best interests of the public’s health.

Pinal County Director of Communications James Daniels told the Arizona Republic that the health department does not want to release the data concerning the spread to avoid those who don’t live near a patient to stop taking precautions or to feel complacent.

Other states provide more information regarding the spread of the virus, including geographic information of patients and the number of hospitalizations, something the ADHS does not provide.  

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