Navajo Nation has no COVID-related deaths for seventh day in a row

(Nina Mayer Ritchie | Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health via AP) In this Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, photo provided by Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, registered nurse Starla Garcia prepares a coronavirus vaccine in Chinle, Ariz., for someone who enrolled in the COVID-19 vaccine trials on the Navajo Nation and initially received a placebo.

Window Rock, Ariz. • The Navajo Nation now has had a week of reporting no additional COVID-19 related deaths on the vast reservation where safety precautions like a mask mandate and daily curfews remain.

The tribe on Saturday night reported no new deaths for the seventh consecutive day and just two new confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The latest numbers brought the pandemic case total to 30,357 with the death toll remaining at 1,262.

Tribal officials said 16,477 people have recovered from COVID-19 thus far.

The tribe had been easing into reopening but that slowed somewhat after coronavirus variants were confirmed on the reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Tribal officials urged residents to stay vigilant.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez said the tribe recently had a cluster of COVID-19 cases as a result of a family gathering where people were not wearing masks.

Tribal public health orders mandate that masks be worn on the reservation and a daily curfew is in effect. Restaurants cannot have dine-in services.

Navajo Nation roads also are closed to visitors and tourists, which doesn’t affect travel on state highways that run through the reservation.