COVID-19 Community Update for Summer

GRIN Staff
Gila River Indian News


The Gila River Indian Community continues to monitor rising positive COVID-19 cases with the omicron subvariant BA2.12.1 accounting for the majority of cases according to the CDC.


Gov.Stephen Roe Lewis’ COVID-19 Taskforce is now warning Community members that chances of getting reinfected have been climbing among the unvaccinated and those who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations.


Between May 9 and June 12, the Tribal Health Department (THD) reported 158 new cases of members residing in GRIC with a high of 47 reported during the week of, June 6-12.


If you add the 67 reinfections during that time to the new cases those numbers increase by nearly 30 percent to a total number of 225 cases in a little over a month. 


“We still aren’t out of the woods yet,” said Gov. Lewis in his June 10 video message to the Community. Gov. Lewis addressed the rise in cases and encouraged more GRIC members to get vaccinated. He also said to take precautions when in public.


“It’s important to remain vigilant and protect yourself and your family,” he said.   

Community members continue to spread COVID-19 while attending gatherings, not following COVID-19 protocols and individuals not remaining home while experiencing symptoms.


Here’s the top three reasons why individuals are contracting COVID-19 according to THD.

  1. Families holding small gatherings with other families that do not live in their home. Adults and children eating and sharing meals at the gathering and children playing amongst each other that may be experiencing symptoms. Families not practicing COVID-19 protocols at the gatherings.

  2. Individuals attending large gatherings (such as graduations and funerals) where physical distancing was not followed and other COVID-19 protocols, such as not staying home if experiencing any COVID symptoms, and not wearing a mask at large gatherings.

  3. Individuals attending gatherings/events when they have symptoms of COVID-19 because they thought the symptoms were due to their allergies.

The spread of COVID-19 reveals a need for more Community members to become fully vaccinated and receive their booster. 

Current vaccine rates show that 74 percent of GRIC residents have received their first and second doses, however, there is a large drop off of individuals who have not received the recommended booster when eligible. 

Only 27 percent of all GRIC residents are up-to-date with their vaccines meaning they received all recommended COVID vaccines including any booster dose(s). Vaccines decrease in effectiveness over time and a booster will prolong your ability to avoid severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

On June 9, Dr. Anthony Santiago, CEO of Gila River Health Care, reported Omicron accounts for 100 percent of recent sequenced cases and the BA.2.12. subvariant is now 52 percent of Arizona cases. 

The CDC reported, as of June 13, that total COVID-19 deaths are at 1,006,451. Total GRIC enrolled member deaths are at 157.

Now that the summer break is here and Fourth of July celebrations are taking place, it is important to follow guidelines for the safety of the entire Community such as getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and getting tested if you’re feeling symptoms. 

Vaccines for COVID-19 and the flu are readily available at the scheduled COVID-19 vaccine clinics or through the Primary Care Department at all Gila River Health Care locations.