Safford area seeing most new COVID-19 cases

- David Bell Graph/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — With new cases of COVID-19 continuing to increase in the Gila Valley, it appears the Safford area is where most infections are occurring.

According to data released by the Graham County Health Department, the Safford area accounts for 65 percent of the new cases in December, while Thatcher has 20 percent of the cases.

Safford is defined by the Arizona Department of Health Services as the 85546 zip code, which includes unincorporated areas of Graham County, outside city limits. There is no breakdown between those inside Safford city limits and those outside who have tested positive.

There were 33 new cases Friday, bringing December’s total to 99 through the first four days of the month. November, which is the peak month of the pandemic in Graham County thus far, had 74 cases through the first four days.

The Health Department also reported Friday a death related to COVID-19, a Pima resident over the age of 65.

That brings the total number of deaths in the Gila Valley due to the pandemic to 37, for a 1.6 percent mortality rate. Thirty-three of the deaths have involved residents over the age of 65, giving that age group a 10.6 percent mortality rate.

Graham County’s total number of cases is at 2,314, with 1,010 cases considered active.

Greenlee County

Greenlee County’s case count also continues to grow.

Greenlee County Health Department reported 12 new cases Thursday evening, bringing December’s total number of new cases to 42. By comparison, Greenlee County only saw three new cases through the first three days of November, its peak month.

Greenlee County’s total is now at 288, with 168 cases considered active and three deaths.