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COVID-19 Response


Since the first case of COVID-19 was detected on Navajo Nation last year, COPE has contributed to the immediate and long-term response to the virus. Our approach of working alongside local leaders, our ties to leading national and international medical responders, and our strong connection with the communities where we work, have enabled us to effectively mobilize high-impact programs to help measure and prevent the spread of the virus and to ensure social support for affected families and communities.

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 has provided important elements to the response to the pandemic on Navajo since it began. In this next phase of response, we will maintain intense focus on what we know works to help stop the spread and care for those impacted: contact tracing and providing social support. 

Will you 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 communities.

COPE is working in the following areas:


  • COPE coordinated the travel and logistics for over 100 medical volunteers (Physicians and Nurses) to increase clinical capacity on Navajo Nation.


Contact Tracing

  • 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

Program Enchancement: FVRx Expansion & Diabetes Accompaniment

  • FVRx increases consumption of fruits and vegetables and can lead to long-term change in health factors that impact chronic conditions. Based on feedback from Contact Tracers, we are expanding the FVRx program families impacted by COVID.
  • COPE is planning to address the food insecurity issues that are exacerbated by COVID on Navajo Nation. Participants are given vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables that they can redeem at participating stores or trading posts. 

Shelter & Supplies


  • 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 coordinated with medical providers. Respiratory Shelters supported by COPE housed over 700 individuals over the course of the pandemic.

  • We provided direct aid relief by delivering food, water and essential goods such as livestock feed to quarantined communities on Navajo Nation. We have donated 40+ tons of emergency supplies and donations to hotspot areas in partnership with World Central Kitchen, With Love from Strangers, Angel Flight, and local Chapters.

  • COPE continues to provide hand sanitizer stations, consisting of a stand, hand sanitizer solution, two refillable bottles, gloves, facial masks, six COVID-19 related educational posters and Water is K'é posters to 25 small stores.

Press Coverage

Under the guidance of the Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center, COPE collaborated with IHS staff, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, and Fourth Sky Media to create videos encouraging practices to prevent COVID-19 at schools.

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.

For more information:

COVID-19 Outreach Materials

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