On Friday, members of the COVID-19 modeling team at the University of Arizona sent the Arizona Department of Health Services a letter stating that "no matter what actions are taken, Arizona will experience a hospital crisis in the coming weeks."

If not action is taken however, "it risks a catastrophe on a scale of the worst natural disaster the state has ever experienced. It would be akin to facing a major forest fire without evacuation orders."

The letter states that Arizona State University's modeling team predicts - without taking into consideration holiday travel - that Arizona will exceed current ICU and general ward capacity by early December and will exceed Arizona's total hospital capacity by the end of December.

"There would be no additional availability to provide care for routine, urgent, or emergency non-COVID care," the letter states.

The modeling team is recommending a "state-wide shelter-in-place" ordinance starting Dec. 1 and going through Dec. 22. It would include the closing of indoor dining and bars. They further recommend emergency COVID-19 relief measures for small businesses and families affected by the closures.

They also recommend a statewide mask mandate.

Graham County has lost another resident with COVID-19. Another Safford resident over the age of 65 has died, bringing the total number of virus-related deaths since March to 35.

As of tonight, 976 people in Graham County are battling the virus. Forty-one new patients have been added to the total over the last two days. Of the 2,132 diagnosed cases, 1,133 have recovered.

People under 40 are still catching the virus more often than others. So far, 926 people 20-44 have gotten sick and 462 children have contracted the illness.

As of Saturday night, 108 Greenlee County residents were battling the virus after three new patients were diagnosed Saturday and eight on Friday. Two residents have died and 117 have recovered.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 4,136 new patients have been diagnosed with the virus and another 36 patients have died. Nearly 323,000 Arizonans have caught COVID-19 and 6,624 have died.

As of Friday, there were 2,383 patients hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 and 553 of them were in ICU and 343 were on ventilators.

There were 871 COVID-19 patients in the hospital one month ago. There were 188 in ICU and 94 on ventilators one month ago. 

The state released a COVID-19 update report on Friday. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. is just shy of 13 million diagnosed cases since Jan. 21. Nearly 1,300 new deaths were reported Saturday, bringing that total to 263,956.

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