Apache County reports highest rate of recent COVID-19 cases in Arizona

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 3:01pm

The U.S. is averaging less than half as many COVID-19 cases per day now as it was in early September. But in Arizona, cases have plateaued at a fairly high level. The northeast corner of the state has been reporting the highest rate of new cases recently.

Apache County is now seeing the most COVID-19 cases per capita in the state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Apache County has reported 787 cases per 100,000 people in the past week. Arizona has recently averaged 195 cases per 100,000 people statewide. The national average is 139 cases per 100,000. 

The Navajo Nation makes up a large portion of Apache County. The tribe reports its average number of daily COVID-19 cases has climbed slightly since August. The Navajo Nation’s health department last week said the reservation would remain in “Orange Status” of its reopening plan for the time being. That limits many businesses to 50% capacity and limits gatherings to no more than 15 people.

Navajo Nation COVID signs
Katherine Davis-Young/KJZZ
Signs tell residents of the Navajo Nation to get vaccinated on July 13, 2021.

"We know how to reduce and even stop the spread of COVID-19, but it takes all of us making the right choices for ourselves and others each and every day. Our health care experts have gone above and beyond to help our people and to give us the guidance that we need, but it’s ultimately our own actions and choices that decide how far COVID-19 spreads. Please be safe, get vaccinated, wear a mask in public, and continue to pray for our people and frontline warriors," Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez said in a press release Monday. 

Vaccination rates are relatively high in Apache County and on the Navajo reservation. Data from the CDC shows, in spite of rising caseloads, fewer deaths have been reported recently in the county than in prior waves of the pandemic. The highest recent death rate per capita in the state has been in Mohave County, which has the state's lowest vaccination rate.