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The health departments of Graham and Greenlee counties announced the deaths of two people battling COVID-19 Thursday night.

One of the victims was in their 60s and from the Clifton area and the other was a Thatcher resident 65 or older. Graham County has now lost a total of 55 residents to the virus and Greenlee County has lost four, two from the Clifton area and two from the Duncan area.

In addition, the Greenlee County Health Department announced six additional patients, bringing their total since March to 456. Graham County announced 53 new cases earlier in the day, bringing that county's total to 3,601.

As of Dec. 20, the latest figures available, Graham County's positivity rate was 23.4%, dropping from 37% the week prior. 

Greenlee County's positivity rate jumped, however. As of Dec. 20, it was 20.8% compared to 8.3% the week prior.

The statewide positivity rate is 12.9%.

On Thursday morning, Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center CEO Roland Knox said the hospital is averaging 18 COVID-19 patients a day, but he is concerned the number could rise in the new few days as a result of New Year's celebrations.

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