Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 30, 2021

UK coronavirus variant on Navajo Nation, patient had been vaccinated

In the western Navajo Nation, a Dine' elderly patient was hospitalized with the UK variant of the coronavirus, more than one month after being vaccinated.

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The UK variant of the coronavirus has been identified on the Navajo Nation, Navajo President Jonathan Nez said in a statement today, March 30, 2021.

The Dine' patient had been vaccinated for the coronavirus. The patient received the COVID-19 vaccine more than one month before testing positive for the virus variant.

The elderly patient in the western Navajo Nation was hospitalized and is now at home recovering.

In an interview, Nez said that the Dine' who had the virus was a man in his 80s living in the western area of the Navajo Nation.

President Nez pointed out in his statement today that the virus variant is often more contagious and more severe. Masks and social distancing remain vital, even after being vaccinated, Nez said.

President Nez said in a statement at 1 pm today, March 30, 2021, “We shouldn’t panic, but we should be informed about this new development. There is still much to be learned about this particular variant, but the evidence so far indicates that the UK variant is more contagious and is more severe in some cases. The U.K. variant has been detected in all 50 states, and now we have a confirmed case here on the Navajo Nation."

"The Navajo Department of Health continues to work with states and other partners to conduct surveillance to help identify if there are more variant cases. We don’t want to cause panic, but we want to reinforce the need to take all precautions by limiting travel, getting tested if symptoms occur, wearing one or two masks, avoiding medium to large in-person gatherings, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands often,” said President Nez.

Nez identified the variant, commonly known as the Coronavirus UK variant, as SARS CoV-2 Strain Variant B.1.1.7.

"On Tuesday, the Navajo Nation announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 Strain Variant B.1.1.7 also referred to as the U.K. variant, from a COVID-19 test sample that was obtained in the western portion of the Navajo Nation. The U.K. variant is currently the most dominant variant in the United States and has been detected in all 50 states, including many cases in the Four Corners states," Nez said in a statement on Facebook.

The statement did not indicate which vaccination the patient had received earlier.

Nez said today, Tuesday, there have been 1,247 Dine' deaths from coronavirus.

Today, there were 12 new cases, 16,396 recoveries, and one recent death related to COVID-19.

Reports show 16,396 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 . The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 30,097, including three delayed reported cases. The total number of COVID-19 tests administered is 253,994.

March 30, 2021: Navajo Nation COVID-19 positive cases by Service Unit:

· Chinle Service Unit: 5,522
· Crownpoint Service Unit: 2,871
· Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 3,588
· Gallup Service Unit: 4,754
· Kayenta Service Unit: 2,657
· Shiprock Service Unit: 5,045
· Tuba City Service Unit: 3,655
· Winslow Service Unit: 1,969

* 18 residences with COVID-19 positive cases are not specific enough to place them accurately in a Service Unit.

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