COVID-19 cases and deaths rising again in Mohave County

KINGMAN – New cases of COVID-19, and deaths from complications from the virus, are rising again in Mohave County.

According to the Mohave County Department of Public Health, there were 526 new cases and 22 deaths recorded in the county in the week ending Wednesday, Dec. 8. That’s the most new cases logged in the county since the week ending Wednesday Nov. 10, and the most deaths in a single week since the winter surge of 2021.

Those lofty numbers were reached when local health officials reported three additional deaths and 140 more cases on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The report covered the two-day period between noon on Monday, Dec. 6 and noon on Wednesday.

All three of the newly deceased were residents of the Kingman medical service area – one each ages 60-69, 70-79 and 80-89. Kingman also continued to post the most new cases of the county’s four medical service areas with 75.

More than half of the new Kingman patients are in the age groups over 50 that have accounted for 95% of the deaths in the county since the beginning of the pandemic. There were 20 new cases ages 60-69, six ages 70-79, and seven each ages 50-59 and 80-89.

Another eight local cases involved children and teens, including four each ages 0-10 and 11-19. There were also 11 new cases ages 20-29, nine ages 40-49 and seven ages 30-39.

Elsewhere in the county, the health department reported 35 new cases in the Bullhead City service area, 27 in the Lake Havasu City service area, two in undetermined locations in the county, and one in the Arizona Strip.

Kingman now leads the county’s four medical service areas with 9,285 cases, and is second in the number of deaths with 241.

The 526 new cases and 22 deaths in the seven-day span ending Wednesday compares to 416 new cases and four deaths reported in the seven-day period ending at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

There were 443 new cases and 21 deaths in the week ending Wednesday, Nov. 24; and 509 new cases and 12 deaths reported in the week ending Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Mohave County remains a high-transmission area, with the county’s low vaccination rate cited as a primary reason by local health officials.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, only 42.7% of eligible county residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine, which have proven effective at preventing the disease and lessening the severity of breakthrough illnesses. That places Mohave far below the 63.3% logged statewide. More than one-third of county residents – 75,480 of about 213,000 – are fully vaccinated.

According to the county’s website, Bullhead City has suffered the most with 254 coronavirus deaths. It is followed by Kingman with 241, Lake Havasu City with 200, Golden Valley with 51, Fort Mohave with 87 and Mohave Valley with 32. The locations of the remaining deaths are not specified by the county on its website.

Broken down by cities and communities, the county has recorded 9,285 cases in Kingman, 8,576 cases in Lake Havasu City, 7,828 in Bullhead City, 2,704 in Fort Mohave, 1,798 in Golden Valley, 1,235 in Mohave Valley and 582 in Beaver Dam/Littlefield/Colorado City. There have also been 228 cases in Topock, 181 in Dolan Springs, 95 in Meadview and 80 in Yucca. The locations of the remaining cases are not specified.

The age of the average COVID-19 victim in the county is 72.6 years, while the average patient is 45.4 years old. The case fatality rate in the county is 2.8%, meaning 28 of every 1,000 individuals who have contracted the virus have died. Approximately 15.6% of Mohave County residents are known to have been infected.

County health officials have logged 33,402 coronavirus cases since the first local case was reported on March 24, 2020, while the Arizona Department of Health Services has recorded 36,957 cases in the county. The county counts 933 deaths, while the state reports 1,069.

“The county only reports confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, while the state which reports probables as well. Therefore, the county’s numbers and those from the state are not the same,” the county wrote in the news release, explaining the discrepancy.

According to county health officials, 28,257 county residents are known to have recovered from the disease since the beginning of the pandemic.

Daily testing data from AZDHS for Wednesday, Dec. 8 revealed 127 new cases from 1,316 tests for a positivity rate of 10%.

The positivity rate was 12% (138/1,137) on Wednesday, Dec. 1; 12% 106/915) on Thursday, Dec. 2; 12.4% (153/1,309) on Friday, Dec. 3; 21% (85/403) on Sunday, Dec. 5; 28% (113/409) on Monday, Dec. 6; and 9% (51/549) on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Since the beginning of the pandemic 316,384 tests have been conducted on county residents and 12.4% have been positive, according to AZDHS.

Statewide on Thursday, Dec. 9 AZDHS was reporting 75 additional deaths and 3,663 new cases from 41,249 tests for a positivity rate of 9%. More than 1,305,000 Arizonans have contracted the virus and 22,854 have died.

Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine was reporting nearly 50 million confirmed cases and 793,302 deaths the morning of Thursday, Dec. 9.

Globally, Johns Hopkins was reporting nearly 5.3 million deaths from more than 268 million confirmed cases on Thursday, Dec. 9.

County health officials also reported that they are “aware of the omicron variant and is monitoring the situation.” The coronavirus variant surfaced in southern Africa, and features dozens of new mutations which may be more transmittable that previous versions of the virus and could be more resident to existing vaccines, although the verdict is still out. It has now spread to dozens of nations, and more than 10 states in the U.S.

“We are expecting more specific information, clarity and guidance from the CDC (federal Centers for Disease Control and prevention soon. We will share it with the public when it’s made available,” the county wrote.

In another matter, local health officials have “been notified of a scam in which citizens receive a call from a person claiming to be an employee of the Mohave County Department of Public Health and offering home visits to administer COVID-19 vaccine.

“The MCDPH does not and will not directly contact residents to offer home-based COVID-19 vaccination appointments,” the news release noticed.

Vaccines are readily available at area pharmacies, physician offices and the Kingman Regional Medical Center COVID Services office at the corner of Stockton Hill Road and Detroit Avenue.

Residents age 5 and up can now be vaccinated, and booster shots are available for all persons age 18 and older if it’s been six months since they received their second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since they’ve received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

To curtail virus spread, public health officials recommend that the unvaccinated maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, and wear a face covering when social distancing isn’t possible.

For some patients, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, or no symptoms at all.

For others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Some individuals with the virus, including those who have been fully vaccinated, can exhibit no symptoms, but are still capable of transmitting the disease.

The Kingman medical service area includes Kingman, New-Kingman/Butler, Chloride, Valentine, Meadview, Wikieup, Yucca, White Hills, Hackberry, Peach Springs, Valle Vista and Oatman.

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