Coronavirus

With Arizona’s COVID-19 numbers continuing to remain high, health officials in Graham and Greenlee county are continuing to urge people to get vaccinated and to wear their masks in high-risk situations.

Families should consider getting their children vaccinated now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children ages 5-11, said Dr. Fred Fox, Greenlee County Health Department’s medical director.

The Graham County Health Department will begin offering the Pfizer vaccine for kids every Thursday and Friday starting Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 and are currently accepting reservations on the county’s website, www.graham.az.gov, said Melissa Lunt, registered nurse.

The Pfizer vaccine times for families will be 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Fridays at 627 W. Main Street in Safford.

Greenlee County and Gila Health Resources held its first vaccine clinic for kids 5-11 on Nov. 5, Fox said.

On Nov. 12, a vaccine clinic will be held for the public at Fairbanks Middle School in Clifton from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., he said. The Pfizer vaccine will be available for all ages and people can get the Moderna vaccine and booster shots as well.

The health department has also scheduled vaccine clinics for Nov. 16 and Nov. 22 at their facilities in Clifton and Duncan. The Duncan clinic will be held from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the Clifton clinic will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on those dates. The Pfizer vaccine will be available for kids 12 and older; it’s unclear if there will be enough for kids 5-11, although Fox said he’s hopeful.

Lunt said she had hoped to see a significant drop in COVID-19 numbers in Graham County by now, but that’s not happening. There’s only been a slight decline. All it will take is a large gathering to send the numbers shooting up again, so Lunt said she is really hoping people will get vaccinated.

Fox said Greenlee County’s numbers are now higher than they’ve ever been and he, too, is hopeful people will change their minds about becoming vaccinated. The sickest patients are those who are unvaccinated, he said.

“I’m still wearing my mask even though I’m vaccinated and had my booster because even if I end up getting a mild case, I don’t want to spread it,” Fox said.

As of Wednesday, the 14-day average of people hospitalized with COVID-19 at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center was 11 and since Sept. 1, 92% of people hospitalized with the virus were unvaccinated, said Shaylee Richards, hospital spokeswoman.

Since the start of the pandemic, 7,981 Graham and 1,294 Greenlee residents have caught the virus and 121 and 16 have died, respectively. Two more Graham County residents died this past week.

Statewide 21,549 of 1,202,901 Arizonans who have caught COVID-19 have died.

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