WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (ABC4)- On Wednesday, the Navajo Department of Health reported 41 new cases and one new death related to COVID-19. The Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service confirmed the number of new cases and deaths. 

So far, almost 1,500 people have died of COVID-19 in the Navajo Nation. According to the APM Research Lab in March, out of every 100,000 Americans from their respective group, 256 indigenous people have died from the coronavirus

“[It is] the highest actual mortality rate of all racial and ethnic groups,” the report says. Comparatively speaking, for every 100,000 Americans, other ethnic groups experienced a considerably lower mortality rate. The breakdown is:

Asian: 96
Latino: 147
White: 150
Pacific Islander: 177
Black Americans: 180

Despite the high number of deaths in the indigenous community, the report says data from only 43 states were represented in the final figures.

The grim milestone for the Navajo Nation has urged President Jonathan Nez to encourage people to get vaccinated, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up.

“We need more of our Navajo Nation residents to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before the holiday season,” Nez said. Seventy percent of eligible residents 12 years and older were fully vaccinated, including 97% of employees at the Navajo Nation Executive Branch, according to Nez. 

 “We’re doing much better than the rest of the country and states, but we need to do better,” he said.

Vice President Myron Lizer said the upcoming flu and cold season will make it difficult to differentiate between those diseases and COVID-19.

“The issue with these illnesses is that they have similar signs and symptoms that could be difficult to tell which illness a person has,” Lizer said. “The only way to know for certain and to rule out a COVID-19 infection is to get tested.”

Healthcare facilities across the Navajo Nation continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Residents who would like to get vaccinated should schedule an appointment with their health care provider.

For more information on prevention tips and other COVID-19 resources, visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website here. For COVID-19 related questions and general information, call (928) 871-7014.