Graham County has lost another two residents to COVID-19, bringing the death toll up to 91 since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
According to the Graham County Health Department, 134 new COVID-19 patients have been diagnosed over the last three days. Six hundred county residents are currently battling the virus.
Thirty-seven of the new patients are under the age of 20 and 61 are in the 20-44 age group, according to the county.
The two most recent patients to die were in the 65+ age range and the 20-44 demographic, the health department reported.
There are currently 125 Greenlee County residents sick with the virus, including four who were diagnosed Wednesday.
On Thursday morning, Morenci Unified School District Superintendent David Woodall put out a plea on Facebook to the community to mask up.
"If we want to avoid distance learning, canceling extra-curricular events, and repeated quarantines of students and teams - we need to take proactive measures," Woodall wrote. "Our toolbox is limited – vaccinations – which are not available to all, social distancing which can be a challenge at school, and masks which are not a cure-all, but have proven to be effective. In order to slow the spread, we are asking students and staff to mask up when indoors until we return from fall break."
He continued: "Recent action by the Governor and Legislature removed the authority of local school boards to mandate masks. To be clear, we aren’t mandating masks but simply encouraging students and staff to wear them. I don’t like to wear a mask and know most people don’t either. However, I want to keep everyone safe and school in session. With that in mind - this is a request, a plea for your help. Please consider masking up to help our school and community."
On Wednesday evening, Shaylee Richards, a hospital spokeswoman said Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center's inpatient COVID-19 average over the last 14 days has been 12.
Last week, the hospital was averaging seven per day and a couple of weeks before that it was two per day, Richards said.
Richards said 1,041 people have tested positive for the virus at the hospital since the start of the pandemic and the positivity rate for the last two weeks is 34.67%, Richards said.