The first death at Rim Country Health was reported this weekend as the number of coronavirus cases at the long-term health facility climbs.

There are now 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Rim Country Health (RCH), including the most recent death.

The resident tested positive for COVID-19 a week prior. They reportedly had underlying health conditions, according to Tabitha Meyer, RCH administrator.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our deceased resident. It’s a very sad time when we lose a resident. My team gets attached to their residents,” she said. “Members of our RCH nursing team were at our resident’s bedside at the time of passing. It is especially sad that this resident had tested positive for COVID-19.”

Residents of RCH who have tested positive are being kept in a unit isolated from the rest of the facility.

Recent reports show the COVID-19 virus is flaring up in Gila County and around the rest of the state.

The Gila County Department of Health and Emergency Management reported 158 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, including 33 new cases in Payson between June 13 and June 22. The department has started contact tracing.

“Although this will spark anxiety internally on the campus, and externally in the community, we ask everyone not to worry, but rather to instead MASK UP!, distance themselves socially, wash/sanitize their hands frequently, and inform themselves about symptoms and precautions,” Meyer wrote. “Please keep our residents and staff in your prayers. Covid-19, THIS. IS REAL.”

Other businesses confirmed workers had tested positive.

A notice from The Golf Club at Chaparral Pines announced one of its dining room employees has tested positive for COVID-19. The notice said the individual was wearing a mask and following guidelines for hand washing at all times and was asymptomatic. The employee will remain in self-isolation for at least 10 days and all areas the individual frequented at the facility have been cleaned and disinfected.

General Manager Brent Newcomb advised recipients of the notice, “If you experience symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, coughing, loss of taste or smell or shortness of breath), please stay home and let me, as general manager of the club, (know if you) have become ill as soon as possible. We also recommend you contact your health care provider and the local health department and follow their guidance if you display any symptoms.”

Dutch Bros. on June 19 announced an employee at the 602 S. Beeline Highway location had tested positive after taking a COVID-19 test June 16.

“Prior to the positive test, the employee worked morning shifts on 6/9, 6/10 and 6/11,” according to a release. “We learned of the positive case on Friday, 6/19 and immediately began closing procedures. As an extra precaution, the Payson shop will undergo a third-party deep clean before reopening.”

The employee has been advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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