Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 4, 2022

Rapid spread of COVID-19 continues across Indian country, September 5, 2022

Bitahnii Wilson, Dineh volunteer, delivers water and firewood to those
in need, sick, and elderly, and to nearby Hopi neighbors.
Photo courtesy Bitahnii Wilson.

COVID's rapid spread continues across Indian country, with seven deaths in Navajo Nation 

Brenda Norrell 

Censored News

Sept. 5, 2022

The coronavirus continues to spread at a high rate in much of Indian Country, according to the CDC. The rapid spread continues in about half of Montana and Oklahoma, in Apache County, where Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the Navajo Nation, and nearby McKinley Country, where the border town of Gallup, N.M., is located.

The high rate of spread continues in the area of Pine Ridge in South Dakota. The widest area of spread is throughout the entire southeastern United States.

The Navajo Nation said seven Dineh died this past week from COVID-19. On Friday, there were 141 new cases. The Navajo Nation said that 51 Navajo communities have an uncontrolled spread of the virus. At the same time, the first case of monkeypox was reported by the Navajo Nation in McKinley County, New Mexico.

The Navajo Nation has one of the highest vaccination rates for COVID in the United States. Indian Health Service has administered more than 400,000 vaccines in the Navajo service area. With even more vaccines administered, IHS said it has administered more 720,000 vaccines in the Oklahoma service area, which includes Kansas and north Texas.

Nationwide, Indian Health Service reports the fastest spread in the Bemidji, Minnesota IHS service region, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. The high rate of spread continues in the Great Plains, including on the Oglala Lakota Nation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The Great Plains region includes the Dakotas, Nebraska and Iowa.

The CDC shows a high rate of community spread of COVID in large portions of Indian country, including Montana and Oklahoma, as well as in Window Rock, Ariz., the capital of the Navajo Nation and bordertown of Gallup, N.M. The CDC updates its community levels on Thursdays each week.

Indian Health Service reports vaccines administered, August 31, 2022

Navajo Department of Health Report, Sept. 2, 2011

141 new cases and no deaths related to COVID-19 were reported
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – On Friday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 141 new COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths is 1,887. 589,870 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The overall total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 72,517, including 448 delayed reported cases. A new case is defined as a positive test within the last 72 hours. Some cases are due to delayed reporting from the states. Any positive tests from beyond the previous 72 hours are considered delayed.

Navajo Nation reported that 51 communities of the 110 chapters have uncontrolled spread of COVID.
About the author

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 40 years, beginning at the Navajo Times during the 18 years she lived in the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for Associated Press and USA Today. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated in 2006 and created Censored News. She has a master's degree in international health focused on water, nutrition and infectious diseases.

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