Navajo Nation reports 158 new COVID-19 cases

The Associated Press

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer visited the Gallup Indian Medical Center on Monday as the first vaccine shipment arrived

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation began receiving coronavirus vaccine doses on Monday as tribal health officials reported 158 additional COVID-19 cases and two more related deaths. 

In all, the tribe has reported 19,766 virus cases resulting in 722 deaths since the pandemic began.

On Monday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer visited the Gallup Indian Medical Center as the first vaccine shipment arrived.

(Related: First COVID-19 vaccine hits Indian Country)

The tribe is expecting a total of 3,900 coronavirus vaccine doses to be delivered by Tuesday with about 7,900 more doses arriving next week.

Those vaccines will cover healthcare workers, emergency medical staff, traditional practitioners working in Indian Health Service facilities, and the staff and patients in long-term nursing facilities.

"We have to be mindful that this will be a long process and we cannot let down our guard," Nez said in a statement. "The fight is not over, but the Pfizer vaccine provides us with another tool to help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic."

Tribal officials have said nearly all intensive care unit beds on the reservation are being used as COVID-19 cases surge.

The Navajo Nation has extended its stay-at-home order though Dec. 28 in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

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