Navajo Nation was hit hard by COVID-19, with cases in the early days totaling more than all other regions in Indian Country combined. While a strong, evidence-led response from Navajo Nation has helped to bring down infection rates, the spread of new variants continues to threaten the under-staffed and under-funded medical system.

COPE is uniquely positioned to contribute to the immediate and long-term response to COVID-19. Our approach of working alongside tribal leaders, our close connections to leading COVID-19 responders,
and our strong relationships within the communities where we work, enable us to effectively mobilize high-impact programs to help measure the spread of the virus and ensure social support for affected families and communities.

Join us in stopping the spread of the virus.

The COPE team is coordinating and implementing a multi-faceted action plan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in both Gallup, New Mexico where our office is based as well as the surrounding tribal lands.

COPE facilitated the delivery of essential supplies on Navajo Nation, including hard-hit regions of Kayenta, Chilchinbito, Nazlini and Dennehotso Chapters (pictured). COPE staff are conducting screenings, conducting referrals, and servicing the unsheltered in Gallup to limit COVID-19. COPE delivered hand sanitizer and masks to local stores, nursing homes, and schools, and worked with Navajo Incident Command to develop a Contact Tracing app.

COPE is working in the following areas:


  • Early in the pandemic, COPE provided on-call support to community-led respiratory shelters at Gallup’s El Rancho Hotel, Motel 6, Howard Johnson, and Days Inn for patients with possible COVID symptoms and coordination with medical providers.

  • Respiratory Shelters supported by COPE housed over 700 individuals over the course of the pandemic.  


  • We worked with Navajo leadership and local health systems to address gaps in medical protective gear such as masks, gloves, gowns and hand sanitizer. 

  • By delivering food, water and essential goods such as livestock feed to quarantined communities on Navajo Nation, we are providing relief and help to limit community spread of COVID-19. We have donated 40+ tons of supplies to hotspot areas in partnership World Central Kitchen, With Love from Strangers, Angel Flight, and local Chapters. 


  • COPE arranged to increase clinical capacity with emergency staffing in order to meet the surge in cases. COPE helped to coordinate the travel and logistics for over 100 medical volunteers and continues to assist medical professionals traveling to Navajo Nation. 

  • COPE is working on equipping healthcare workers with technology to conduct contact tracing, improve clinic-patient communication, and facilitate telehealth visits.


  • COPE trained and certified a cadre of contact tracers to provide contact tracing support for sites across Navajo Nation. 

  • We supported the ongoing implementation of a Contact Tracing Technology Platform to facilitate unified contact tracing and case management across Navajo Nation. 

  • With contact tracers, COPE developed accurate, culturally informed, clear and consistent information on Contact Tracing, COVID prevention, and response. Download outreach messaging here

Press Coverage

COPE Executive Director Hannah Sehn discuss in an online session that highlights community-centered, place-based approaches for COVID-19 responses for racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

Volunteer clinicians from around the United States have responded to the COVID-19 crisis on Navajo Nation. COPE is meeting the needs of Navajo Nation by helping to match and coordinate these healthcare providers with the Indian Health Service.

COPE Executive Director Hannah Sehn and Research Director Sonya Shin are joined by Dr. Wei and Dr. Lozada from IHS to discuss our joint response to COVID-19 on Navajo Nation.

The map below comes from the Navajo Epidemiology Center Coronavirus Response Hub.
Each positive case of COVID-19 on Navajo Nation is broken down into counties.

For the more information:

COVID-19 Outreach Materials