Since the start of the month, Gila County officials have confirmed 305 COVID-19 cases, with 162 of those in Rim Country.

December COVID-19 cases

Dec. 1 report – 53 cases confirmed; 25 in Payson and 1 in Pine

Dec. 2 report – 41 cases; 18 in Payson; 1 in Pine; 1 in Tonto Basin

Dec. 3 report – 23 cases; 18 in Payson

Dec. 4 report – 23 cases; 11 in Payson

Dec. 7 report – 108 cases; 53 in Payson; 1 in Pine; 2 in Star Valley

Dec. 8 report – 31 cases; 13 in Payson; 1 in Pine; 1 in Star Valley

Dec. 9 report – 26 cases; 13 in Payson; 1 in Pine; 1 in Star Valley; 1 in Strawberry

As of last Wednesday, the death toll in Gila County care facilities went from 37 on Dec. 1 to 44 on Dec. 9.

At the time of the Dec. 9 report, Payson saw seven residents of the community die from COVID-19, with two City of Globe residents dying.

As of Dec. 9, the county had confirmed a total of 108 deaths in Gila County; 70 are non-tribal residents and 38 are tribal residents.

County ready for vaccines

Gila County is ready for whatever COVID-19 vaccines the state makes available. “We have our smaller transportable ultra-cold storage freezer in place and ready and our very large ultra-cold storage freezer is set to be delivered the first week of the new year, Jan. 4th,” said Josh Beck, emergency management director for Gila County.

He went on to say the state has made the decision to allocate the initial ultra-cold vaccine shipment from Pfizer to Maricopa and Pima counties.

“The rural counties will now be receiving the majority of the Moderna vaccine. The vaccine could arrive at our site between Monday, Dec. 21 and Wednesday, Dec. 23, pending Emergency Use Authorization approval. This vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage.

“Everything is still in the proposed and not definitive stage. The state is currently on almost hourly calls with the CDC working for the best scenario for Arizona. Again not written in stone, but our current proposed allocation for the initial shipment is 1,800 doses.

“The details continue to change, but I think the Moderna change sounds fairly official as we are actually allocating our order in the state system today (Thursday, Dec. 10),” Beck said.

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