COVID kills 24 more county residents, including 16 from Kingman area

KINGMAN – COVID-19 has taken another deadly turn in Mohave County.

The county logged 24 deaths in just two days, more than in any single week since the surge in the winter of 2021.

The deaths, along with 179 new cases, were reported by the Mohave County Department of Public Health on Friday, Dec. 10. The report covered the two-day period between noon on Wednesday, Dec. 8 and noon on Friday.

Meanwhile, the county also stated in the news release that local COVID reports, which were once issued daily far before the county was recording nearly as many cases as during the current surge, will be cut back to two a week. The reports had been issued three times a week for months. The cutback results from a Mohave County Board of Supervisors decision made at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 6.

Of the 24 new deaths, 16 were logged in the Kingman medical service area, which has been the epicenter of the outbreak in the county for the past several months.

The newly deceased from the local area include five ages 60-69, four each ages 70-79 and 80-89, two ages 50-59 and one age 40-49. The other deaths in the county involved adult patients over the age 60, including three ages 70-79 and one each age 60-69 and 80-89 from the Bullhead City medical service area. There were also three deaths in the Lake Havasu City service area – two ages 80-89 and one age 60-69.

More than half of the 179 new cases were recorded in the Kingman service area, with 99 new patients reported.

More than half of the new local cases involved patients in the age groups over 50, which have accounted for 95% of the deaths in the county since the beginning of the pandemic. There were 17 new local cases ages 50-59, 16 ages 60-69, 14 ages 70-79 and three ages 80-89.

Another 14 local cases involved children and teens, including 12 ages 11-19 and two ages 0-10. There were also 14 new cases ages 20-29, 11 ages 40-49, and 10 ages 30-39.

Elsewhere in the county, 35 cases each were logged in the Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City service areas. Of those 71 new cases, 40 were in the more-vulnerable age groups over 50.

There were also eight new cases logged in the communities in the Arizona Strip, and two in undetermined locations in the county.

Kingman now leads the county’s four medical service areas with 9,360 cases, and is second in the number of deaths with 252.

The number of new virus deaths jumped dramatically in the week ending at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 8. with 526 new cases and 22 additional deaths reported.

That compares to 416 new cases and four deaths reported in the seven-day period ending at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and 443 new cases and 21 deaths in the week ending Wednesday, Nov. 24. There were 509 new cases and 12 deaths reported in the week ending Wednesday, Nov. 17, and 549 new cases and eight deaths reported by county health officials in the week ending Wednesday, Nov. 10.

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 42.8% 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 63.5% logged statewide. More than one-third of county residents – 75,649 of about 213,000 – are fully vaccinated.

According to the county’s website, Bullhead City has suffered the most with 257 coronavirus deaths. It is followed by Kingman with 252, Lake Havasu City with 203, Golden Valley with 52, Fort Mohave with 89 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 9,360 cases in Kingman, 8,612 cases in Lake Havasu City, 7,847 in Bullhead City, 2,715 in Fort Mohave, 1,817 in Golden Valley, 1,239 in Mohave Valley and 590 in Beaver Dam/Littlefield/Colorado City. There have also been 228 cases in Topock, 184 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 15.7% of Mohave County residents are known to have been infected.

County health officials have logged 33,579 coronavirus cases since the first local case was reported on March 24, 2020, while the Arizona Department of Health Services has recorded 37,149 cases in the county. The county counts 957 deaths, while the state reports 1,094.

“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 a recent news release, explaining the discrepancy between state and local figures.

According to county health officials, 28,341 county residents are known to have recovered from the disease since the beginning of the pandemic.

Daily testing data from AZDHS for Friday, Dec. 10 revealed 90 new cases from 900 tests for a positivity rate of 10%.

The positivity rate was 12.4% (153/1,309) on Friday, Dec. 3; 21% (85/403) on Sunday, Dec. 5; 28% (113/409) on Monday, Dec. 6; 9% (51/549) on Tuesday, Dec. 7; and 10% (127/1,316) on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

Since the beginning of the pandemic 317,987 tests have been conducted on county residents and 12.4% have been positive, according to AZDHS.

Statewide on Saturday, Dec. 11 AZDHS was reporting 74 additional deaths and 3,774 new cases from 38,613 tests for a positivity rate of 10%. More than 1,312,000 Arizonans have contracted the virus and 23,021 have died.

Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine was reporting nearly 50 million confirmed cases and 796,921 deaths the morning of Saturday, Dec. 11.

Globally, Johns Hopkins was reporting nearly 5.3 million deaths from more than 269 million confirmed cases on Saturday, Dec. 11.

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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