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Navajo Nation government extends closures

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Prez Nez: Border town ‘hotspots’ reason for change

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Based on the recommendations of healthcare experts and data from the states of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona and nearby cities that show increases in COVID-19 cases, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed Executive Order No. 008-20 July 22, extending the Navajo Nation’s declaration of a state of emergency and the closure of Navajo Nation government offices and entities from July 27 to Aug. 16.

“The data shows that the Navajo people are doing a good job in bringing the number of COVID-19 cases to a steady decrease on the Navajo Nation, but nearby border towns and cities such as Phoenix and Albuquerque continue to show increases in new cases,” Nez said. “We cannot play politics with this potential deadly virus, instead we have to listen to our health care experts and analyze the data. Currently, we have approximately 3,620 Navajo Nation employees that are working to perform essential duties and keep the government in operation – this is well over half of the total workforce. We have to keep fighting COVID-19 together.”

The Nez-Lizer Administration and the Navajo Health Command Operations Center continue to urge all Navajo Nation residents to wear protective masks in public, stay home as much as possible, practice social distancing, wash hands often, and avoid large gatherings.

The Department of Health and the Health Command Operations Center is also preparing for the upcoming winter flu season, which will present more challenges, as well as a vaccination plan once a COVID-19 vaccine is proven to be safe and made available.

“There is no vaccine yet, but the Nation is preparing for it once a vaccine is made available and is proven to be safe. We are seeing some good indications in our recent daily numbers, but the risk is still very high and we still have many people who are recovering and many that are hospitalized,” Lizer said. “We’ve had 26 consecutive days of less than 100 cases. Let’s keep the momentum up and let’s keep fighting this virus together. Our first responders are not giving up, so let’s not lose hope. Keep praying and keep listening to the health care experts.”

On July 17, the Navajo Department of Health issued Public Health Emergency Order No. 2020-018, implementing two additional 57-hour weekend lockdowns from July 24 - 27, and from July 31 - Aug. 3, starting at 8 pm MDT on Friday and ending at 5 am Monday.

A separate order is being developed to require residents that travel to “hotspots” to quarantine for 14 days when they return to the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation’s Stay at Home Order remains in effect requiring all individuals on the Navajo Nation to stay at home and strictly limit movement, and limit public contact with others. Individuals may leave their place of residence only for emergencies or to perform “Essential Activities.”

The daily curfew also remains in effect from 8 pm to 5 am on weekdays.

For more information, including helpful prevention tips, and resources to help stop the spread of COVID-19, visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at: ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19. For COVID-19 related questions and information, call (928) 871-7014.