Navajo health department issues health advisory for 36 communities

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

GALLUP — Five communities on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County are among 36 communities under a health advisory for COVID-19 infections.

The Aug. 30 notice was issued by the Navajo Department of Health, which identified the communities as having an increase in cases from Aug. 13 to Aug. 26.

Communities in San Juan County are Beclabito, Nageezi, Sheep Springs, Shiprock and Upper Fruitland.

Other communities in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah are Aneth, Baca-Prewitt, Becenti, Birdsprings, Breadsprings, Chichiltah, Chinle, Church Rock, Coppermine, Coyote Canton, Crownpoint, Ganado, Hardrock, Indian Wells, Iyanbito, Kaibeto, Kayenta, Low Mountain, Lukachukai, Many Farms, Rock Springs, Smith Lake, Sweetwater, Tachee-Blue Gap, Teec Nos Pos, Teesto, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Tonalea, Tuba City and Twin Lakes.

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The Navajo Epidemiology Center continues to report that travel away from the tribal land, faith-based services and family gatherings contribute to new cases.

This week the center added school-based sporting events in its report for virus transmission.

More:'Really moving': Digital collection chronicles COVID-19 response at San Juan Regional Medical Center

Del Yazzie, an epidemiologist with the center, explained on Aug. 31 during an online update about COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation that some football players tested positive within the last two weeks.

"According to the contact tracers, it's likely the transmission occurred in the locker room where they weren't wearing masks," Yazzie said adding that there is still no evidence that transmission is happening in classrooms.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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