WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has signed an executive order requiring all government workers on the tribe’s vast reservation to have a booster shot. Nez also said tribal health officials have changed how the term “fully vaccinated” is defined by making it two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine plus a booster shot.

The actions come after a record number of COVID cases have been reported on the reservation that covers 27,000 square miles and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.


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Tribal health officials reported 525 new cases Friday, the most in a single day since the pandemic began almost two years ago. That number topped the 405 cases reported Thursday.

Officials reported 62 cases Saturday but said there have been no reported deaths from the virus in the last three days.

“Our case numbers have been very high recently, but the number of hospitalizations has not surged and the numbers of deaths has remained low,” Nez said. “This shows that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly-effective and that they are saving lives.”

The Navajo Nation has reported more than 45,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic.