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Graham County has now documented 117 cases of COVID-19 since March 13, when the first county resident was diagnosed.

The county health department announced Wednesday morning that 12 cases had been diagnosed late Tuesday and officials announced an additional nine Wednesday evening. Two cases are from Solomon, three from Safford, and four from San Carlos Apache Tribe.

Health Department Director Brian Douglas said staff members have been able to link virtually all of the cases to known sources and have discovered many of the new patients have been traveling outside Graham County to family get-togethers and parties in Phoenix and elsewhere.

"It's the same old story, but there's just a lot more of it," Douglas said. "We're anticipating our numbers will continue to climb significantly over the next couple of weeks."

Unless more people start taking precautionary measures, such as wearing masks, hand-washing and distancing themselves from others, Douglas said the numbers could continue to rise.

Right now the county is still able to keep up with the amount of contact tracing necessary, he said.

"We've had time to build a surge plan and we are reassigning a few health department employees to help with the contact tracing," he said. 

Despite the increasing cases, Douglas said they're not seeing a lot of people needing to be  hospitalized. That's not to say they aren't very sick, he said.

"There may not be an increase in hospitalizations, but those who are recovering are quite sick with symptoms that can last up to a month," Douglas said.

Patients aren't considered recovered from the virus until 14 days after symptoms disappear, in part because it takes awhile for them to recover their strength, he said.

The ages of the 117 positive cases:

(21) under 20, (30) 21-34 years old, (45) 35-64 years old, (21) 65 years old plus.

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