COVID-19 cases are rising again on the Navajo Nation

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 7:10pm

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Navajo Nation COVID sign
Katherine Davis-Young/KJZZ
A sign warns Navajo Nation residents in July 2021 to stay home because of COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases are once again trending upward on the Navajo Nation. The reservation is now averaging about 80 new cases per day — nearly twice as many as it was reporting a month ago.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez is urging Navajo citizens to limit travel and household gatherings.

“We’ve got Halloween coming up, we’ve got Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Look at what happened last year with the high cases. We don’t want that to happen," Nez said in a Thursday town hall video

The reservation spent much of last winter and spring under strict curfews as cases surged, but Nez said he does not want to impose those restrictions again.

“That’s a question — do we need to go back to lockdowns? I don’t think so, because it disrupts commerce, it disrupts government operations and we need to continue to provide those direct services,” Nez said. 

The Navajo Nation is still limiting many businesses to 50% capacity and is restricting public gatherings to no more than 15 people. 

The Navajo Nation’s vaccination rate is higher than Arizona’s statewide average. About 69% of Navajo Nation residents over age 12 are fully vaccinated, compared to 62% of all Arizonans 12 and older. Recent deaths on the reservation have not increased at the rate of new cases. And the Navajo Nation’s epidemiology team reports hospital capacity on the reservation is stable.