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Hopi Officials Begin Reopening As Known COVID-19 Infections Flatten

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Hopi health officials say known COVID-19 infections continue to drop as more residents receive vaccinations. It’s prompted tribal leaders to begin reopening the reservation and easing some restrictions. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Hopi leaders last week approved the first phase of the tribe’s reopening plan. It allows administrators in the 13 Hopi villages to determine which safety measures to keep in place, but the executive order still urges physical distancing among other safety restrictions.

Earlier this week, Hopi health officials say they’d confirmed four active COVID cases in the past two weeks. It’s a dramatic decline from the reservation’s pandemic high in January, when positivity rates were far higher than national and state averages.

The flattening of cases is due at least in part to high levels of vaccinations on Hopi. More than half the reservation’s population of about 9,000 has received at least one dose compared to Arizona’s statewide rate of about 33%. In all, there are more than 19,000 enrolled members of the tribe living in the U.S.

The Hopi Health Care Center is scheduling appointments for drive-up vaccination clinics next Wednesday and Thursday in Hotevilla, Kykotsmovi and other communities.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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