California COVID-19 Variant Confirmed on the Navajo Nation

This is the second COVID-19 variant of concern that has been identified on the Navajo Nation. On March 30, the Navajo Department of Health announced the first case of the U.K. variant found in the western portion of the Navajo Nation.

From the Navajo Nation Department of Health

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

On Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez was joined by Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim, Navajo Area IHS officials, and Dr. Laura Hammitt with John Hopkins University, as he announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the Navajo Nation, which came from a test sample obtained in the Chinle Service Unit area. The variant was first identified in the state of California and has since been detected across the southwest U.S.

This is the second COVID-19 variant of concern that has been identified on the Navajo Nation. On March 30, the Navajo Department of Health announced the first case of the U.K. variant found in the western portion of the Navajo Nation.

“Everyone should be informed about the two variants that have been identified here on the Navajo Nation. There is still much to be learned about the B.1.429 variant, commonly known as the California variant. At this point, the California variant has been detected in all of the states that surround the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Department of Health continues to work with states and other partners to conduct surveillance to help identify if there are more variant cases. We have to continue taking all precautions by wearing one or two masks, avoiding medium to large in-person gatherings, practicing social distancing, getting tested if symptoms occur, and washing your hands often,” said President Nez.

According to the Navajo Department of Health, the person who tested positive for the B.1.429 variant has recovered. Contact tracing has been completed. The Navajo Epidemiology Center, under the Navajo Department of Health and Health Command Operations Center, continues to coordinate with states and other testing facilities to sequence samples for the variants.

The B.1.429 variant is notable because it has increased transmissibility, meaning that it can spread from person to person at a greater rate. One of the monoclonal antibody treatments (bamlanivimab) has limited activity against the B.1.429 variant. However, other monoclonal antibody treatments are available that are effective.

“We already know how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and it’s no different with the two variants that have now been identified on the Navajo Nation. If we isolate the ourselves, we isolate the virus and that’s why it’s very important to get tested if you feel symptoms related to COVID-19. The quicker that a person isolates themself after being notified of a positive test result, the greater chance of reducing the spread. We have to remain diligent and support one another. We will overcome this pandemic, but we have to do it together,” said Vice President Lizer.

For more information, including helpful prevention tips, and resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19, visit the Navajo Department of Health's COVID-19 website: For COVID-19 related questions and information, call (928) 871-7014.

More from COVID-19/Coronavirus

  • San Juan Co. Remains YELLOW on NM COVID-19 Map

    Counties at the Yellow Level have either a new COVID-19 case incidence rate of no greater than 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the most recent two-week period, or an average percent of positive COVID-19 test results over the most recent 14-day period less than or equal to 5%.

  • Daily NM COVID-19 Statistics: 195,990 (+228) cases, 4,023 Deaths (+3)

    There were 33 new COVID 19 cases and no additional deaths in San Juan County reported on Thursday by the Department of Health

  • *Updated* Navajo Nation Active COVID-19 Cases Total: 30,404 (+15), 1,263 Deaths (+0)

    The total number of deaths is 1,263 as of Thursday. Reports indicate that 16,522 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 262,009 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 30,404.

  • NM Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility

    All New Mexicans 16+ will be eligible for the vaccine beginning Monday, April 5 as the state moves to Phase 2 of its vaccination schedule.

  • NM Modifies Red-Green Restrictions, Adds Turquoise Level

    The framework includes a new least restrictive level where all categories of business can operate indoors with minimal occupancy limitations, depending on the risk level of the activity. A county will reach this least restrictive level, the Turquoise Level, by meeting key health criteria for two consecutive two-week periods and effectively graduating out of the Red-Yellow-Green framework, provided the virus remains suppressed.

  • Navajo Nation to Lessen Restrictions March 15

    "This is a carefully-crafted soft reopening that includes specific guidelines to continue helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while allowing more businesses to reopen at no more than 25-percent capacity along with strict provisions. We continue to rely on the data and the advice of public health experts as we move forward in this pandemic. The recent data shows that there is a consistent reduction in new infections, a reduction in hospital visits and hospital bed usage, and very high rates of vaccinations across the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

On KSJE Now:

Today's Weather

  • Farmington, NM

    Sunny intervals

    High: 64°F | Low: 34°F

  • Durango, CO

    Thundery shower

    High: 59°F | Low: 30°F

  • Shiprock, NM

    Sunny intervals

    High: 68°F | Low: 34°F

  • Cortez, CO

    Sunny intervals

    High: 63°F | Low: 28°F

  • Santa Fe, NM

    Thundery shower

    High: 61°F | Low: 36°F