Greenlee, Graham lowest COVID-19 transmission rates in AZ

David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central. Brian Douglas, director of the Graham County Health Department, gives a presentation on the state of COVID-19 in the county to the Safford City Council on Monday, June 22, 2020.

SAFFORD — While the number of positive coronavirus cases in Graham and Greenlee counties continues to climb, the area has the lowest transmission rate in Arizona.

That’s according to Graham County Health Department director Brian Douglas, who said Greenlee leads the way with 128 cases per 100,000 people and Graham is second with a transmission rate of 168.9 per 100,000.

He attributed that low transmission rate to residents staying home as much as possible and practicing proper physical distancing when out.

He said the Health Department is finding transmission typically occurs when in close contact of 6-feet or less with an infected person for 10 minutes or longer.

“We’re just not seeing people being infected with COVID just through casual contact. It takes at least 10 minutes or longer,” Douglas said.

Casual contact is considered contact of less than 10 minutes or walking past someone.

Graham County is currently at 65 positive cases of COVID-19 with two deaths. A total of 18 people have been hospitalized due to the virus, with eight having to be flow out to a higher-level trauma center.

Of the 65 total cases, 21 are on the San Carlos Apache reservation, with the tribe reporting a total of 113 infected tribal members — 93 on the reservation and 20 off — with two deaths.

Douglas said that, as a result of the testing blitz at Canyonlands Healthcare on June 13, three of the 250 people tested have been found positive, with two of those being Cochise County residents. Forty test results are still pending.

Greenlee County is at 16 positive cases with one death.