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Project HOPE Celebrates Landmarks Achieved by the Navajo People & Health Workers in COVID-19 Fight, Urges Continued Support

Navajo Nation reports no new COVID-19 infections in 24-hour period as vaccinations soar

Bethesda, MD (March 26, 2021) — On March 22, health authorities in Navajo Nation reported no new coronavirus cases within a 24-hour period for the first time in 2021. This landmark comes after winter months marked by severe losses; Navajo Nation experienced the highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate in North America and suffered 1,233 deaths. Project HOPE, a global health and humanitarian organization working on site, issued the following statements:

“After a dark winter, spring brings welcome news from the Navajo People and great results in their fight against COVID-19. A sharp decrease in cases is the result of a strong increase in vaccinations. Community unity, access to medical care, and coordinated, all-in commitment to vaccination and community engagement made this possible. In Navajo Nation, public health precautions like masks and physical distancing never became a heated political issue; people came together to protect each other. Project HOPE has been honored to stand with Navajo Nation throughout this pandemic. Following the lead of local health officials and Navajo leaders, our volunteer emergency response health care workers have been inspired to work side-by-side as reinforcements in this fight. While we are uplifted by this progress, we urge everyone to remember that we’re still in the thick of this pandemic. We must continue to uphold personal safety and public health protocol to save lives. The best way to thank health care workers and to honor each other is to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands, wear a mask, maintain safe distance and get vaccinated as soon as vaccines are accessible.”

– Harley Jones, senior manager of domestic emergency response, Project HOPE

“The global community can look to and learn from the Navajo People as we continue to navigate this pandemic. Navajo Nation transformed one of the worst local COVID-19 crises on Earth into one of the greatest mitigation success stories. By reaching tribal community members through trusted voices, Navajo leaders shaped conditions for a powerful, successful vaccination campaign. While we won’t back down until the coronavirus threat ends, we can pause to celebrate what’s possible when strong people, deep culture and good medicine come together to overcome unthinkable community health emergencies. We are humbled and uplifted by the Navajo People’s unsurpassed strength and aim to serve until all people are safe from COVID-19. Public awareness and support are paramount.”

– Erin Greeson, senior director of public engagement, Project HOPE

Facts & Figures 
COVID-19 Emergency in Navajo Nation

  • The Navajo Nation on Monday, March 22 reported zero new coronavirus cases or deaths in the previous 24 hours for the first time in 2021.
  • No new deaths were announced, leaving the total at 1,233 casualties. At least 16,344 people in Navajo Nation have recovered.
  • After an aggressive vaccination campaign, 38% of Navajo Nation citizens have been fully vaccinated.
  • More than 3 of 4 people on the Navajo Nation have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or 79.5 percent of the population as of March 18, according to the Navajo Area Indian Health Service.
  • A spokesperson for the Navajo Area IHS says 240,323 people get health care from it. Of those, 191,064 have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Navajo Nation had the highest per capita infection rate in the U.S. at the height of the pandemic.
  • On March 23, Navajo Nation health officials reported three new COVID-19 cases.
  • A total of 30,010 people in Navajo Nation have been sickened by coronavirus.
  • Average daily new cases continue to decline. The seven-day average is 7.6 new cases per day, a decrease of 53 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
  • The Navajo Nation tribal territory covers the corners of three states: Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, covering 27,673 square miles.

Project HOPE’s COVID-19 Response in Navajo Nation
To support local frontline health care workers, Project HOPE has been delivering on-site surge support.

  • 49 total volunteer health worker deployments (7 volunteers have returned for second or third deployments)
  • Locations are Northern Navajo Medical Center (Shiprock, NM) and Gallup Indian Medical Center (Gallup, NM)
  • Surge support includes approximately 5,900 volunteer hours to date.
  • To-date, volunteers have reached a total of approximately 32,300 people.
  • Volunteer health workers have assisted with ICU, surge staffing, COVID units and mobile testing sites.
  • Over 7,600 COVID-19 vaccines given to date by Project HOPE volunteer health care workers.

About Project HOPE:
Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian relief organization that is committed to placing power in the hands of local health care workers to save lives across the globe.

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