Navajo Nation nears 30K COVID-19 cases since pandemic began

Officials reported 18 new cases and six more deaths on Thursday.

(Carolyn Kaster | AP file photo) In 2020, a volunteer with Team Rubicon holds a COVID-19 test in the emergency room of the Kayenta Health Center on the Navajo reservation in Kayenta, Ariz.

Window Rock, Ariz. • The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported six more deaths and 18 new cases of COVID-19 as the total number of cases approaches the 30,000 mark since the pandemic began.

The latest numbers pushed the tribe’s pandemic total to 29,987 confirmed cases and 1,228 known deaths.

The Navajo Nation had a soft reopening Monday with 25% capacity for some businesses under certain restrictions.

Still, mask mandates and daily curfews remain.

“A couple days ago, we only had two new cases of COVID-19 reported and today we have 18,” tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. “This is very concerning because we know that there are variants of the COVID-19 virus that continue to spread across the country.

“While we don’t have any confirmed variant cases here on the Navajo Nation, we strongly urge all of our residents to limit their travel to only essential activities,” Nez added. “Now is not the time to go on vacation or to hold large in-person gatherings... We cannot let another surge occur here on the Navajo Nation.”

The reservation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.