Infections rising, health advisory lists 36 chapters
The Navajo Department of Health issued a health advisory notice on Monday reporting the “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19 in 36 chapters, 15 in New Mexico and 21 in Arizona.
The chapters are Baca/Prewitt, Becenti, Bird Springs, Chichiltah, Chinle, Coppermine, Coyote Canyon, Crownpoint, Dennehotso, Ganado, Hard Rock, Indian Wells, Inscription House, Iyanbito, Kaibeto, Kayenta, Leupp, Little Water, Low Mountain, Lukachukai, Many Farms, Naschitti, Nazlini, Rock Springs, Rough Rock, Sheepsprings, Shiprock, Smith Lake, Tachee/Blue Gap, Teesto, Tohatchi, Tonalea-Red Lake, Tsaile/Wheatfields, Tsayatoh, Upper Fruitland, and Whippoorwill.
Schools on and near the reservation have also been impacted by the pandemic since reopening to in-person learning.
While students over age 12 are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, there is no vaccine available for children under 12.
The tribe is requiring all schools on the reservation to provide opportunities for virtual learning in addition to in-person learning.
“Schools serving these communities need to implement layers of mitigation to meet the high level of COVID-19 community transmission,” NDOH wrote in a news release.
To date, schools that have reported exposures to the virus include Kin Da Lichee Olta, Kirtland Central High and middle schools, Hunter’s Point Boarding School, Ganado Unified School District-Alternative Education, Greasewood Springs Community School, Lukachukai Community School, Ch’ooshgai Community School, two Head Start schools, Piñon High, middle and elementary schools, and Shonto Prep.
A Flagstaff Unified School District school, Judy Nelson Elementary, and Leupp Community School also reported COVID exposures.
Greasewood and Piñon Elementary schools have reported exposures occurring three times.
The number of positive cases in the month of August alone has significantly increased, NDOH reports.
As of Tuesday, 826 people tested positive with the coronavirus.
In February, for which NDOH reported 1,277 positive cases, was the last time the number of cases were as high as they are today.
NDOH reminds everyone to wear masks, wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and to use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if no water or hand soap is available. Keep at least six feet away from others and limit gatherings with individuals who are not immediate family members.