Thatcher death attributed to COVID-19

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

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A Thatcher resident’s death due to COVID-19 was reported by the Graham County Department of Health Services on Saturday, putting the county’s total for the pandemic to 38 and the third death this week.

The resident was over the age of 65, and no further information about the resident was released.  

The Graham County Department of Health and Human Services announced 26 new positive tests on Saturday and 29 on Sunday push the county’s total for the pandemic to 2,369.

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 Saturday, Graham County had 2,369 total confirmed cases, with 1,298 recovered, 1,033 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 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.

On 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. 

There were 15 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center as of Thursday.

The amount of COVID-19 cases at MGRMC has filled the hospital to its capacity several times.

According to the state’s database, Graham County’s positive test cases include 496 who are under 20 years of age, 1,029 between 20-44, 277 between 45-54, 247 between 55-64, 315 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 four new positive tests on Saturday to raise its total for the pandemic to 297.

The health department has administered tests to 2,943 people as of Saturday, with 2,646 being negative, and 297 positives, according to the department. The county has 177 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 293 positives currently) includes 49 under the age of 20, 141 between 20-44, 42 between 45-54, 36 between 55-64, and 25 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 Sunday, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Health & Human Services reported 20 new cases. To date, the Tribe has administered 15,457 tests with 12,400 negatives, 2,968 positives, and 89 results pending.

The Tribe lists 189 currently active cases, with 2,745 recovered cases, and 34 deaths.

The area breakdown on the reservation includes Gilson Wash – 506 positive, 472 recovered, 21 active, 13 deaths; Peridot – 999 positive, 910 recovered, 75 active, 14 deaths; 7-Mile – 606 positive, 550 recovered, 50 active, six deaths; Bylas – 671 positive, 645 recovered, 25 active, one death; other areas – 186 positive, 168 recovered, 18 active.   


For the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 5,376 new cases Sunday to bring the total to 364.276 for the state. It reported 25 new deaths to increase the total fatalities due, at least in part, to COVID-19 to and amended 6,950 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 228,312, Pima County – 45,166, Yuma County – 19,643, Pinal County – 18,739, Navajo County – 8,766, Coconino County – 8,241, Mohave County – 7,238, Yavapai County – 6,621, Apache County – 5,864, Santa Cruz County – 4,416, Cochise County – 4,342, Gila County – 3,290, Graham County – 2,369, La Paz County – 976, Greenlee County – 293 (county lists 297).