San Carlos Apache Tribe ‘accepts’ first COVID-19 case

SAN CARLOS —The San Carlos Apache Tribe announced it has “accepted” its first positive COVID-19 case.

According to the statement issued Thursday, the tribe said the infected person had been living in Phoenix. Because there were no healthcare options available to this person in Phoenix, the person was admitted to the San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation hospital, in a special COVID-19 isolation area, in the Peridot District.

“We have a duty to treat this patient. Every member of the tribe has a right to healthcare,” said Victoria Begam CEO of San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation. “Once recovered and after two negative tests, the patient will be returned to Phoenix.

Earlier this week, Graham County Health announced the three latest positive cases were “tribal members” and were all tested outside the county — in Maricopa and Pima counties. Because each of those people list Graham County as their primary residence, the cases are attributed to Graham County.

There have been 21 positive cases of COVID-19 in Graham County since the start of the pandemic and two in Greenlee County. Neither county has experience a COVID-19-related death.