WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — As the Thanksgiving holiday nears, the Navajo Nation is urging residents on the vast reservation to limit in-person gatherings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The tribe reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and five more coronavirus-related deaths.
The figures bring the total number of cases to 38,898, including 11 cases that belatedly were reported. The death toll is 1,527.
Navajo Vice President Myron Lizer said far too many people have contracted COVID-19 because they gather in-person and do not adhere to social distance guidelines or wear a mask.
"As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s crucial that our Navajo people continue to support one another and help to inform their loved ones about the importance of taking precautions and limiting in-person gatherings," he said in a statement.
The tribe has maintained a mask mandate through most of the pandemic.
Tribal officials are urging those who aren’t vaccinated to do so.
The reservation covers 27,000 square miles and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.