The number of Graham County COVID-19 patients increased by 40 over the last two days.

According to the Graham County Health Department, there are currently 1,913 residents battling the virus out of the 5,126 who have been diagnosed since the start of the pandemic last March. The death toll remains at 65.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported this month that there were 75,133 deaths in the state in 2020, an increase of 24.9% from the 60,161 deaths reported in 2019.

According to a story first reported by Cronkite News, Holly Poynter, a spokesperson for the state health department, said while it’s likely “COVID-19 deaths are a factor” in the increase in deaths, state officials will not be able to say for sure until complete data on cause of death is available later this year.

The increased death toll was not spread evenly across the state, with Apache and Yuma counties reporting increases of 48.9% and 48.8%, respectively. Graham County’s increased 33.45%. On the other end of the spectrum, deaths increased by 14.29% in Greenlee County and 16.2% in Cochise County.

In related news, Graham County's mask-wearing regulation is set to expire Friday and no there is no current plan to call a special meeting to consider an extension, said Dustin Welker, county administrator.

As of Monday, just over 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 439,955 have died, including 22,028 in the last seven days.

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