The percentage of people being vaccinated in Graham and Greenlee counties has barely moved over the last two weeks, but the number of people getting the virus continues to climb.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 81 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Graham County Sept. 14-Sept. 16 and 19 people in Greenlee County were diagnosed Sept. 14-Sept. 15. Since Aug. 30, the state reported the percentage of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine rose 1.5% in Graham County to 48.5% and the percentage rose less than 1% to 36.9% in Greenlee County.
People under the age of 45 continue to contract the virus at much higher rates than older people. Of the 81 Graham County residents to get sick over the past few days, 28 were 20-44 years of age and 21 were under 20-years-old. Graham County has recorded 6,728 cases since March 2020 and 3,210 have been in the 20-44 age group and 1,145 have been under 20.
Roughly half of Greenlee County’s 864 total cases involved patients 20-44 and 166 of them were under the age of 20.
As of Wednesday night 180 Greenlee County residents were battling the virus. That number is over 800 in Graham County.
Morenci’s Fairbanks Middle School has nearly 50 kids in quarantine, including the volleyball team. The 7th grade football team is also out of action because of COVID-19 and eligibility issues, said Principal Kelly Hadden. Morenci High School Principal Don Goodman said their volleyball team has also been impacted by COVID-19 and they’ll be trying to reschedule some games. Eighteen high school students are in quarantine; most were exposed to positive cases.
In Duncan, Superintendent Eldon Merrell estimated fewer than 20 are in quarantine, but that’s up from five just a week or so ago.
According to the state health department, Graham County’s vaccination rate for people under 20 is 14% and in Greenlee County that number is 7.7%. Only children 12 and older are eligible for the vaccine.
On Wednesday night, Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Shaylee Richards announced that over the last 14-days, MGRMC had a daily average of 13 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. She also said there was a 29.43% positivity rate for of all of the COVID tests performed in the last 14 days.
Last week, Richards said they’d averaged 14 hospitalized COVID-19 patients per day and the 14-day positivity rate was 35.41% for tests performed at the hospital.