The Graham County Health Department announced another seven deaths due to COVID-19 Wednesday night, bringing the total number to have died of the virus since the start of the pandemic to 133. Fifteen of the victims died in November alone.

As of Wednesday 843 people were actively battling the virus in Graham County.

There were 189 COVID-19 patients in Greenlee County Wednesday night. That county has reported 22 deaths since March 2020 and six of the patients died in November.

Graham County Health Department Director Brian Douglas said the county is just now starting to see patients who contracted the virus around Thanksgiving Day. He expects to see the numbers rise over the next several days before falling off just before Christmas. After Christmas he said we can expect to see another surge that'll likely last until the end of January.

He again urged unvaccinated people to get the vaccine and for everyone to socially distance and wear their masks when they can't maintain their distance.

Of the latest seven patients, Douglas said four were 65 or older and the remaining patients were 55-64.

The number of Arizonans hospitalized and placed in ICU continues to rise.

According to the state, there were 2,661 hospitalized Nov. 30 and 681 of them were in ICU. There were 1,784 hospitalized Oct. 30 and 452 were in ICU that day. 

The number of cases reported overall statewide and in Graham and Greenlee counties have fallen over the last week, however. 

During the week of Nov. 15-Nov. 21, Graham County had 230 COVID-19 patients diagnosed and 171 were diagnosed Nov. 22-Nov. 28, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. In Greenlee County, 52 people caught the virus Nov.15-Nov. 22 and 32 were diagnosed Nov. 22-Nov. 28.

As for vaccinations, 62.4% of Arizonans have received at least one dose compared to 53% in Graham County and 40.5% in Greenlee County.

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