Graham County's COVID-19 numbers took a huge leap Friday after new prison inmate statistics were released to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The number of cases diagnosed since the start of the pandemic in Graham County jumped 365 from 3,601 to 3,966. Three hundred and nine of those patients are prisoners, said Graham County Health Department Director Brian Douglas.
Douglas declined to identify which facility or facilities accounted for the large increase, but the Arizona Department of Corrections' website indicates the number of inmates who have contracted the virus jumped from 142 to 311 Dec. 31-Jan. 8.
Douglas said one correctional facility reports daily to the state, the other held onto their stats for more than a week.
It's unclear where the additional 169 patients are from, however. The number of federal prisoners who are currently sick has fallen off in Safford. On Dec. 31, that number was 517, it's now 297, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prison website.
The ADOC did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
According to the BOP, at total of 621 inmates at the Federal Correctional Institute in Safford have caught COVID-19. Twenty-four staff members have been diagnosed so far and three have recovered.
The state health department reported 11,658 new cases Friday and 197 additional deaths. Roughly 596,000 Arizonans have caught the virus and 9,938 have died as a result.
More than 21 million Americans have gotten COVID-19 and 359,849 have died, including 18,652 in the last week.