36 Navajo Nation communities have uncontrolled COVID spread

COVID-19 remains a concern on the Navajo reservation. (Loretta McKenney/NHO)

COVID-19 remains a concern on the Navajo reservation. (Loretta McKenney/NHO)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation Sept. 2 reported 49 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death.

The latest numbers pushed the tribe's total to 32,650 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

The known death total remained at 1,404.

Based on cases from Aug. 13-16, the Navajo Department of Health has issued an advisory notice for 36 communities because of uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez has said all Navajo Nation executive branch employees will need to be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 by the end of September or be required to submit to regular testing.

The new rules apply to full, part-time and temporary employees, including those working for tribal enterprises like utilities, shopping centers and casinos. Any worker who does not show proof of vaccination by Sept. 29 must be tested every two weeks or face discipline.

The Navajo Nation reservation is the country's largest at 27,000 square miles and covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

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