State reports highest one-day new COVID-19 case increase with more than 12,000

Graham County lists 2,369 total for the pandemic, with 38 deaths

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The Arizona Department of Health Services listed a new one-day record number of new COVID-19 cases, with 12,314 reported on Tuesday.

The new cases are coupled with increased hospitalizations, limiting current ICU beds to just 10 percent throughout the state.

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced 29 new positive tests on Monday and 21 on Tuesday push the county’s total for the pandemic to 2,419. The new cases include 30 from Safford, 16 from Thatcher, and four from Pima.

After having its biggest increase of cases in one month in October (408), Graham County easily surpassed that mark with 968 new positive tests in November.

As of Tuesday, Graham County had 2,419 total confirmed cases, with 1,368 recovered, 1,013 actives, and 38 deaths. 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 6.2 percent of Graham County has tested positive for COVID-19, with the currently active number at 2.6 percent.

A total of 38 people, nearly all over the age of 65 and who had pre-existing health conditions, have died with COVID-19 in Graham County. About 1.6 percent of those who have tested positive for the virus in Graham County have died after contracting it. However, that number jumps to about 10 percent for elderly patients. There were 17 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center as of Tuesday.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Doug Ducey instituted three new executive orders, one restricting gatherings to fewer than 50 people, one that makes it easier for restaurants to get permits for outdoor dining, and another that requires health insurers to pay for a patient’s COVID-19 vaccination. A vaccine should be in Arizona in the next few weeks, with healthcare workers and the elderly being serviced first. 

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 505 who are under 20 years of age, 1,049 between 20-44, 285 between 45-54, 253 between 55-64, 322 who are 65 years old or older, and five unknown.

The ever-increasing positive tests have moved the Graham County Board of Supervisors to issue a mask mandate while in public for Graham County. The regulation includes all parts of incorporated (towns and cities) and unincorporated Graham County.

The health department will hold a testing blitz on Friday, Dec. 11, from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Graham County Fairgrounds.   

Greenlee County

The Greenlee County Health Department listed eight new positive tests on Monday to raise its total for the pandemic to 305.

The health department has administered tests to 3,007 people as of Monday, with 2,702 being negative, and 305 positives, according to the department. The county has 185 active cases, 117 recovered cases, and three deaths. Greenlee County has about 10,000 residents.

The breakdown of the Greenlee cases currently listed on the ADHS’ data dashboard (which only shows 297 positives currently) includes 49 under the age of 20, 144 between 20-44, 42 between 45-54, 36 between 55-64, and 26 who are 65 years old or older.

The Greenlee County Board of Supervisors deadlocked with a 1-1 tie to extend its mask mandate, which will effectively end the mandate on Dec. 12 if nothing more occurs. Supervisor David Gomez was absent due to illness and Supervisor Richard Lunt (Duncan) voted against extending the mandate as he has every vote.

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 Tuesday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 35 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered 15,683 tests with 12,535 negatives, 3,031 positives, and 117 results pending.

The Tribe lists 185 currently active cases, with 2,812 recovered cases, and 34 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 514 positive, 474 recovered, 27 active, 13 deaths; Peridot – 1,019 positive, 939 recovered, 66 active, 14 deaths; 7-Mile – 630 positive, 572 recovered, 52 active, six deaths; Bylas – 676 positive, 656 recovered, 19 active, one death; other areas – 192 positive, 171 recovered, 21 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 12,314 new cases Tuesday to bring the total to 378,157 for the state. It reported 23 new deaths to increase the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 6,973 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 236,818, Pima County – 46,849, Yuma County – 20,490, Pinal County – 19,579, Navajo County – 9,056, Coconino County – 8,494, Mohave County – 7,621, Yavapai County – 6,989, Apache County – 5,952, Santa Cruz County – 4,569, Cochise County – 4,663, Gila County – 3,365, Graham County – 2,419, La Paz County – 996, Greenlee County – 297 (county lists 305).

The county with the highest rate of cases per 100,000 people currently is Yuma, followed by Santa Cruz, Apache, and Navajo counties.