A senior citizen from Thatcher has become the 51st Graham County resident to die while battling COVID-19.

The Graham County Health Department announced the death Thursday along with 48 new cases of the virus. Thirty-two of the new patients live in Safford, nine in Thatcher and five are members of the San Carlos Apache tribe. Two live in Pima.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3,228 Graham County residents have contracted the virus, 1,437 of them 20-44 years of age. The next biggest group is children (582).

More than 1,000 Graham County residents are battling COVID-19 as of Thursday. There are also 135 Greenlee County residents sick as of Thursday morning, eight of them were diagnosed Wednesday. 

The health department reported a positivity rate of 37% in Graham County Thursday, compared to 12% statewide and 8.3% in Greenlee County.

The state reported 7,718 new cases Thursday and 146 deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, 8,864 Arizonans have died and 520,207 have contracted the virus.

More than 4,500 Arizonans are in the hospital with COVID-19 and 1,076 are in ICU. Only 7% of the state's ICU and inpatient beds are available.

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