Navajo Nation announces health advisory as a result of COVID-19 surge

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Hannah Tellier

FILE – In this April 23, 2020, file photo, Team Rubicon volunteer, EMT Hannah Tellier, from Boston, holds a COVID-19 test in the emergency room of the Kayenta Health Center on the Navajo reservation in Kayenta, Ariz. Across the nation, Native American tribes are working to protect their oldest members from the coronavirus. The effort is about more than protecting lives. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (ABC4) – As of Monday, the Navajo Department of Health has issued a Health Advisory in 61 communities due to an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 which took place from Dec. 24, 2021 to Jan. 6, 2022.

The overall number of positive cases in Navajo Nation is now 43,277, with 79 new cases reported over the weekend. The total number of deaths remains 1,593.

“This week, we see an increase in the number of communities identified with uncontrolled spread from 42 communities last week to 61 communities this week. Everyone must use extreme caution in public places and health officials now recommend wearing two masks in public due to the high level of transmissibility of the Omicron variant. Our health care officials are working with their partners and they have identified more Omicron variant cases in several regions of the Navajo Nation. It’s safe to say that the Omicron variant is widespread on the Navajo Nation and across the country, but the data indicates that symptoms are often less severe among those who are fully vaccinated and those who their booster shot. We must be very careful, stay home as much as possible, and limit travel as long as the Omicron variant continues to spread,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The advisory is said to be in effect until both the risk and number of COVID-19 cases declines in the Navajo Nation. 

Currently, health care facilities on the reservation are administering COVID-19 vaccines and are urging all residents to practice health and safety measures like wearing a mask in public and social distancing from others. 

“Be very careful in public places and please help to inform your elders about the Omicron variant and the measures they should take to protect themselves. We have to step up our efforts to protect ourselves and others during this surge. Please be safe, continue to pray, and keep supporting one another during this challenging time,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer. 

For more information on the advisory visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website.

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