Graham adds 20, Greenlee 12 new cases of COVID-19

- David Bell Graph/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — There were 20 new cases of COVID-19 in Graham County on Thursday, with half located in the Safford area.

Graham County Health Department reported 10 of the new cases were in Safford, six on the San Carlos Apache reservation, three in Thatcher and one in Fort Thomas.

Graham County’s total number of cases since the start of the pandemic is 1,083, with 286 of the cases considered active. There have been 27 deaths and Graham County’s positivity rate is 14.6 percent for the week of Oct. 4.

Greenlee County experienced its worst day this month, with 12 new cases.

Greenlee County Health Department announced the new cases late Wednesday evening. That brings Greenlee County’s total to 94, with 32 of the cases considered active.

There have been two deaths and Greenlee County’s positivity rate is at 17.6 percent for the week of Oct. 4.

Graham County Health Department, in conjunction with the Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, will conduct another testing blitz using the saliva collection method Friday, Oct. 23, at Graham County Fairgrounds.

Appointments for Friday’s free testing blitz — from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Graham County Fairgrounds — are strongly encouraged.

To reserve a time, log in at and enter the agency code SALIVATEST. Once logged-in to the portal, click on “Appointments” to schedule a time. Arrive no more than 15 minutes before scheduled.

Requirements of the saliva test include:

• One must wear a protective face covering — either cloth or surgical mask

• Bring the QR code received after scheduling a test appointment

• 30 minutes before the appointment, rinse the mouth with plain water for 20-30 seconds and then spit the water out

• Do not eat, drink (even water), smoke, vape or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to the appointment time (any of these factors may cause an invalid test and/or the test may be rejected by clinical personnel at site collection)

• Staying well hydrated by drinking water the day before and up to 30 minutes prior to the test will speed the saliva collection process.

Results will be available at the online portal about 48 hours after the test.