A SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak Illustrating the Challenges in Limiting the Spread of the Virus — Hopi Tribe, May–June 2020

On June 3, 2020, a woman aged 73 years (patient A) with symptoms consistent with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (1) was evaluated at the emergency department of the Hopi Health Care Center (HHCC, an Indian Health Services facility) and received a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The patient’s symptoms commenced on May 27, and a sibling (patient B) of the patient experienced symptom onset the following day. On May 23, both patients had driven together and spent time in a retail store in Flagstaff, Arizona. Because of their similar exposures, symptom onset dates, and overlapping close contacts, these patients are referred to as co-index patients. The co-index patients had a total of 58 primary (i.e., direct) and secondary contacts (i.e., contacts of a primary contact); among these, 27 (47%) received positive SARS-CoV-2 test results. Four (15%) of the 27 contacts who became ill were household members of co-index patient B, 14 (52%) had attended family gatherings, one was a child who might have transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to six contacts, and eight (30%) were community members. Findings from the outbreak investigation prompted the HHCC and Hopi Tribe leadership to strengthen community education through community health representatives, public health nurses, and radio campaigns. In communities with similar extended family interaction, emphasizing safe ways to stay in touch, along with wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, and physical distancing might help limit the spread of disease.


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