Graham County at more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19

- David Bell Graph/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Graham County Health Department announced 30 new positive cases of COVID-19 Friday, the greatest number of cases in a single day since 35 cases were reported July 27.

The new cases brings Graham County’s total to 1,007, with 231 cases considered active. There have also been 26 deaths.

Fourteen of the new cases involve residents of the San Carlos Apache reservation, 11 are in Safford, three in Thatcher and two in Pima.

Graham County has experienced 156 new cases so far in October, with seven days of 10 cases or more, including the last three days in a row. That’s the most new cases through the first 16 days of a month since there were 128 cases in the first 16 days of July, when the pandemic was at its peak in Graham County.

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

Appointments for Saturday’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.

Greenlee County Health Department announced one new case late Thursday evening.

That brings Greenlee County’s total to 67, with eight active cases and two deaths.

The San Carlos Apache Tribe announced 20 new cases Friday as well as two deaths.

One of the deaths involved a resident of Peridot and one a resident of Bylas.

The tribe’s total is at 1,403, with 207 of the cases considered active. There have been a total of 16 deaths.