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Dr. Fred Fox, medical director for the Greenlee County Health Department, received his COVID-19 Dec. 21. He and other health officials spent the last nine months working to stem the tide of COVID-19 through contact tracing and education. There was more to 2020 than the pandemic, however. Read our Year in Review in today's edition.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, health care officials in Greenlee and Graham counties said.

The Greenlee County Health Department received its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday and Graham County is expecting to receives its first shipment today. 

The vaccine, which comes in two doses 28 days apart, will be given out in phases.

During Phase One, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends health care workers and long-term care workers and residents receive the vaccine.

During Phase Two, people in congregate settings such as prisons and jails will receive the shot as will law enforcement officers, teachers and school staff members and "essential" workers like those who work for oil, gas, electric and water utility companies. 

The next group to receive the vaccine will be senior citizens and any adult with a high risk medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and immune deficiencies.

The vaccine will probably be available to everyone else closer to April or May.

As of Monday night, 134 Greenlee County residents were battling the virus after  five new patients were added to the list. Since the start of the pandemic, 365 residents have caught the virus and three have died.

As of Monday, 957 Graham County residents were sick with COVID-19. Since the beginning, 2,816 have caught it and 46 have died.

The state added 5,859 new patients Tuesday morning and 153 deaths, bringing those totals to 467,215 and 8,125 respectively.

As of Monday, 4,019 Arizonans were hospitalized with the virus and of those 943 were in ICU and 644 were on ventilators. Nine percent of the state's ICU and inpatient beds were available on Monday.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 17.8 million have caught the virus and 316,844 Americans have died.

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