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More Navajo communities see COVID-19 increase


The Navajo Nation is experiencing another uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, according to the Navajo Department of Health.

NDOH on Wednesday reported that COVID-19 infections are rising in the Nation.

From Dec. 26, 2021, to Jan 19, 2022, a total of 3,203 have contracted COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed positive cases to 46,114. There are 1,602 deaths as of Jan. 19.

While the number of Omicron cases – 85 cases – has been rising, the Delta variant has the highest reported cases with 1,290 as of Jan. 19. There are 81 Delta/Epsilon variant cases.

A total of 61 communities in the Nation had uncontrolled spread last week. Since then, NDOH added 27 more communities to the list of infected communities.

NDOH reported uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in 48 Navajo communities in Arizona: Bird Springs, Black Mesa, Blue Gap, Cameron, Chilchinbeto, Chinle, Cornfields, Cottonwood, Dennehotso, Dilkon, Forest Lake, Ganado, Hard Rock, Houck, Indian Wells, Inscription House, Kaibeto, Kayenta, Klagetoh, Leupp, Low Mountain, Lukachukai, Lupton, Many Farms, Mexican Water, Nahatadziil, Nazlini, Oaksprings, Pinon, Red Mesa, Red Rock, Red Valley, Rock Point, Rough Rock, Round Rock, Shonto, St. Michaels, Steamboat, Sweetwater, Tachee, Teec Nos Pos, Teesto, Tonalea-Red Lake, Tsaile, Tselani, Tuba City, Wheatfields, and Whippoorwill.

NDOH reported uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in 37 Navajo communities in New Mexico: Baca, Prewitt, Becenti, Bread Springs, Casamero Lake, Chichiltah, Churchrock, Coyote Canyon, Crownpoint, Crystal, Gadiiahi, Hogback, Iyanbito, Lake Valley, Littlewater, Manuelito, Mexican Springs, Nageezi, Nahodishgish, Naschitti, Pinedale, Pueblo Pintado, Ramah, Rock Springs, Sanostee, Sheep Springs, Shiprock, Smith Lake, Standing Rock, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Torreon, Tsayatoh, Twin Lakes, Two Grey Hills, Upper Fruitland, and White Rock.

NDOH reported the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in three Navajo communities in Utah: Aneth, Navajo Mountain, and Oljato-Monument Valley.

Schools on and near the reservation have gone back to online learning. Many high school athletic programs have been canceled, postponed, or is limiting or prohibiting fan attendance until the end of the month.

The NDOH also reported reservation and off-reservation schools reported COVID-19 exposures. Four schools in Kirtland, New Mexico, reported exposures. Kirtland Central High School reported seven exposures; Kirtland Middle School reported four exposures; Kirtland Elementary School and Judy Nelson Elementary School reported two exposures; the Kirtland Transportation Department reported one exposure.

Four schools in Shiprock reported exposures as well, according to the NDOH. Shiprock High School, which reported two exposures; Nizhoni Elementary School reported two exposures; Mesa Elementary School and Career Prep High School each reported one exposure; and Central Consolidated School District – Administration Building reported two exposures. The schools reported exposures between Dec. 29, 2021, and Jan. 7, 2022.

Both Newcomb Middle School and Newcomb Elementary School in Newcomb, New Mexico, reported exposures between Dec. 29 and Jan. 7, according to NDOH.

Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Le Community School, Ojo Amarillo Elementary School, Tohajiilee Communtiy School, and Ch’ooshgai Community School reported one exposure between Dec. 29 and Jan. 7.

Dilkon Community School had the highest number of exposures with three. Sanders Unified School District with two, and Pinon Community School with one. Two Head Start schools and the Karigan Child Care in St. Michaels, Arizona, also reported exposures.

Sixty-three percent of people in the Navajo Nation are fully vaccinated. Almost 73% of Navajo people from 12 years of age and up are eligible to receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines, according to the NDOH.

In a news release, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said that the increase in the number of communities with uncontrolled spread demonstrated to him “the high level of contagiousness of the Omicron variant.”

“On the upside, the high vaccination rate among our Navajo people is making the difference when it comes to maintaining our health system and not overwhelming our hospital bed capacity on the Navajo Nation,” Nez stated Jan. 19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, and sanitizing hands if a person needs to travel for essential business.

 As a public service, the Navajo Times is making all coverage of the coronavirus pandemic fully available on its website. Please support the Times by subscribing.

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About The Author

Donovan Quintero

"Dii, Diné bi Naaltsoos wolyéhíígíí, ninaaltsoos át'é. Nihi cheii dóó nihi másání ádaaní: Nihi Diné Bizaad bił ninhi't'eelyá áádóó t'áá háadida nihizaad nihił ch'aawóle'lágo. Nihi bee haz'áanii at'é, nihisin at'é, nihi hózhǫ́ǫ́jí at'é, nihi 'ach'ą́ą́h naagééh at'é. Dilkǫǫho saad bee yájíłti', k'ídahoneezláo saad bee yájíłti', ą́ą́ chánahgo saad bee yájíłti', diits'a'go saad bee yájíłti', nabik'íyájíłti' baa yájíłti', bich'į' yájíłti', hach'į' yándaałti', diné k'ehgo bik'izhdiitįįh. This is the belief I do my best to follow when I am writing Diné-related stories and photographing our events, games and news. Ahxéhee', shik'éí dóó shidine'é." - Donovan Quintero is an award-winning Diné journalist, who is based in Window Rock, Arizona. He can be contacted at


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