State health officials say COVID killed 17 more Mohave County residents

KINGMAN – Another 17 Mohave County residents have died from complications of COVID-19 and 164 more have contracted the coronavirus, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The figures were revealed in state coronavirus dash board updates on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 15-16.

The deaths raised the toll in the county since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,116, according to the state’s calculations.

According to the Mohave County Department of Public Health, Kingman now leads the county in new cases with 9,434, and is second in deaths with 253 behind the Bullhead City service area.

The number of new virus cases and 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 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 43.1% 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 64% logged statewide. More than one-third of county residents – 76,005 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 253, Lake Havasu City with 203, Golden Valley with 54, 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 9,434 cases in Kingman, 8,663 cases in Lake Havasu City, 7,883 in Bullhead City, 2,723 in Fort Mohave, 1,832 in Golden Valley, 1,243 in Mohave Valley and 593 in Beaver Dam/Littlefield/Colorado City. There have also been 230 cases in Topock, 187 in Dolan Springs, 96 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 15.8% of Mohave County residents are known to have been infected.

Through Monday, Dec. 13 county health officials had logged 33,785 coronavirus cases since the first local case was reported on March 24, 2020, while the Arizona Department of Health Services has recorded 37,531 cases in the county. The county counts 960 deaths, while the state reports 1,116.

“The county only reports confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, while the state 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, 28,398 county residents are known to have recovered from the disease since the beginning of the pandemic.

Daily testing data from AZDHS for Wednesday, Dec. 15 revealed 92 new cases from 812 tests for a positivity rate of 11%. The positivity rate was 10% (127/1,316) on Wednesday, Dec. 8; 10% (90/900) on Friday, Dec. 10; 18% (64/365) on Sunday, Dec. 12; 24% (121/499) on Monday, Dec. 13; and 10% (72/720) on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Since the beginning of the pandemic 320,949 tests have been conducted on county residents and 12.4% have been positive, according to AZDHS.

Statewide on Thursday, Dec. 16 AZDHS was reporting 20 additional deaths and 2,911 new cases from 35,963 tests for a positivity rate of 8%. More than 1,326,000 Arizonans have contracted the virus and 23,344 have died.

Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine was reporting more than 50 million confirmed cases and 803,093 deaths the morning of Thursday, Dec. 16.

Globally, Johns Hopkins was reporting more than 5.3 million deaths from more than 272 million confirmed cases on Thursday, Dec. 16.

County health officials also this week 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 resistant to existing vaccines, although the verdict is still out. It has now spread to dozens of nations, and most states in the U.S., including Arizona.

“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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