Navajo Nation continues strict curfews

The Navajo Nation has identified 75 communities with an "uncontrolled spread" of Covid-19 in the first two weeks of January, according to a Tuesday news release.

That's more than double the number of communities with uncontrolled spread the Nation had identified in November.

At the time, Navajo leaders said the spread was "largely due to travel off the Navajo Nation and family gatherings."

Now, they expressed concern about Covid-19 variants circulating in the US.

"With more and more reports of the COVID-19 variant being reported in various regions, we must continue to take all precautions," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. "I am hopeful that we are beginning to see a downward trend, but that depends on the actions of all of us."

"We all have a part to play in bringing down the numbers of new COVID-19 cases. Stay strong and keep fighting. We are in this together," the president added.

The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American tribe in the US, and stretches across parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

Brutal rounds of Covid-19 surges

And throughout the pandemic, it's faced brutal surges of infections. In May, the Navajo Nation surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per capita Covid-19 infection rate in the US.

In November, it began a three-week "stay-at-home lockdown" and by early December, leaders announced they were extending the measure for several more weeks in hopes of slowing cases.

A public health order issued by the Nation at the time said it was seeing an "alarming" rise in infections.

"We are near a point where our health care providers are going to have to make very difficult decisions in terms of providing medical treatment to COVID-19 patients with very limited resources such as hospital beds, oxygen resources, medical personnel, and little to no options to transport patients to other regional hospitals because they are also near full capacity," Nez said at the time.

A stay at home lockdown is currently in effect through January 25, according to the latest news release.

The Nation has reported a total of more than 26,500 Covid-19 cases and more than 920 virus-related deaths. Nation leaders have reported that more than 27,000 vaccine doses have been distributed and more than 21,000 have been administered.

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