There were two COVID-19 related deaths in Payson this week along with 41 new cases as of Thursday, Aug. 13, local public health investigators with Gila County Health and Emergency Management confirmed.

COVID-19 was attributed to one death and was the probable cause of a second death.

“We have confirmed a total of 40 deaths in Gila County; 36 are non-tribal and 4 are tribal,” according to county health’s Aug. 11 report.

Updated COVID-19 activity showed 41 additional cases confirmed in Payson this week through Thursday, with 27 of those cases reported Tuesday.

“This (the confirmation of 27 new cases in one day) was a bit of a unique dataset,” said Josh Beck, with Gila County Health and Emergency Management.

“These cases were delayed in reporting due to Ponderosa Family Care switching testing labs and the new lab was not set up to report to Arizona Department of Health Services. All of the cases hit at once and most of these are already recovered in MEDSIS (a communicable disease surveillance system and reporting tool set up by ADHS).

“There were a few epidemiological unlinked cases in a family of four, three, and two that were in the numbers, but there was no known connection between those family clusters,” Beck said.

This week, a local pastor confirmed he and his family had all tested positive for the virus, although they only had minor symptoms.

The latest information identifies 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county’s seven long-term care facilities along with 23 deaths. Most of the cases, 76, were among residents; with 43 staff testing positive for the disease. The facilities have seen 83 cases recover and two hospitalizations.

Overall, the county has 583 confirmed cases as of Aug. 13; 486 recoveries; and 40 deaths. A majority of the cases, 325, are in Payson; with 14 in Pine; eight in Star Valley; five in Tonto Basin; three in Young; and two in Strawberry.

Globe had 157 cases as of the Aug. 13 report; 43 in Miami; 13 in Claypool; five each in Hayden and Winkelman.

There were an additional three cases for which the county had no address.

San Carlos Apache Healthcare reported 610 cases as of Aug. 13, and four deaths. Bringing the county total to 1,193 cases.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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