Coronavirus cases in Graham County top 10k

- David Bell Graph/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Graham County is averaging more than 50 new coronavirus cases a day, making January the month with the second greatest number of new cases since the start of the pandemic, with 10 days left in the month.

On Thursday, the Graham County Health Department reported 211 new cases over the previous two days, bringing January’s total thus far to 1,090. Only January 2021, with 1,889, had more cases in a single month.

The increase in cases means treatment space at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center is at a premium.

“Our in-patient volumes continue to be at a record high. Day-to-day, we’re typically close to, or at, capacity in our Med-Surg unit, and our ICU remains very busy as well. The Emergency Department is seeing much high volumes than even we typically expect in the wintertime,” said Eric Neil, vice president and chief operating officer for MGRMC.

Neil added that about 90 percent of those admitted to the hospital with COVID-related illnesses are not vaccinated against the virus.

Since the start of the pandemic, Graham County has experienced 10,026 cases of COVID-19, with a positivity rate of 30.3 percent. There have been 161 deaths.

Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, in partnership with the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties, is offering free drive-up COVID-19 testing at the hospital’s Copper Mountain Clinic.

Free drive-up testing takes place Monday through Friday, from 1-5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Graham County Health Department is providing free vaccines to anyone 5-years-old and older, and free boosters to anyone 12 and older. To schedule an appointment for the free vaccine or booster, go to Activities • Graham County, AZ • CivicEngage.