Navajo Nation reports 74 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new death

September 3, 2021 GMT

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Friday reported 74 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death.

The latest numbers pushed the Navajo Nation’s total to 32,784 cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago and 1,407 known deaths.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez is pleading for residents not to leave the reservation over the Labor Day weekend.

“The safest place to be is at home here on the Navajo Nation where the infection rate for COVID-19 is much lower than border towns and cities off our Nation,” Nez said in a statement.

Nez previously said all Navajo Nation executive branch employees will need to be fully vaccinated against the virus by the end of September or 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 tribe’s reservation is the country’s largest at 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and it covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.