No new COVID cases Monday!
The Navajo Nation experienced, for the second time, zero new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours on Monday (March 22).
The last time the Nation made it down to zero cases was Sept. 8, 2020, but sadly after that cases began to rise after the Labor Day weekend, which led to Navajo Nation’s second wave of the virus.
But this time is different with 191,064 Navajo citizens administered with COVID-19 vaccines and 76,571 have received both doses.
“Just because we hear the number zero we do know the virus is still circulating whether we talk about here on the Nation, border towns, or states,” said Capt. Brian Johan, Navajo Area Indian Health Service acting deputy area director.
“It’s still here,” he said. “We have to outsmart the virus. We have to make sure to continue to do everything we can to continue to protect ourselves, family members.”
The total number of deaths remains 1,233 as previously reported on March 20. Reports indicate that 16,334 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 251,688 COVID-19 tests have been administered.
The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 30,010, with three new cases reported Tuesday.
“Lessons learned is not to let up,” said President Jonathan Nez. “We let up as a Nation, as a country, right around Labor Day. Lessons learned is once those cases go up, it is very hard to bring those cases down.”
Dr. Puthiery Va, epidemiologist at Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility, said according to data the decline in cases is evident across all eight service units in the IHS Navajo Area.
At one point contact tracers were a much-needed resource but Va said there are now more than enough for every daily new case to help drive cases to zero. Currently there are 229 contact tracers.
“What we are experiencing on Navajo Nation is not necessarily what other states are experiencing,” said Va. “They’re either plateauing high, or they are actually seeing an increase in cases.”
When it comes to the new variants Va explained there have been official reports of the B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1 within the Four Corners. Another variant of concern is the California variant and that is being monitored.
“These variants to some degree have shown to increase transmission from case to case,” said Va. “It has a negative impact on our current treatment available, as well as potentially impact whether our vaccine will work.
“If we continue to take precautions,” Va said, “and we drive our cases as close to zero as possible, then what we are doing is reducing the chances that these variants can spread and take ahold of the Nation.”