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Amid new cases and deaths, Navajo Nation announces recoveries

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Department of Health in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service reported 141 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation, and a total of 127 deaths as of May 14. Preliminary reports from a few health care facilities indicate that approximately 515 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with more reports still pending.

This week, the Navajo Epidemiology Center worked closely with healthcare providers to conduct a quality assurance assessment on the number of COVID-19 cases. Due to cross jurisdictional challenges and longer than normal verification processes, an additional 99 previously unreported positive cases were identified and added to the overall total. As a result, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 3,632.

The 3,632 confirmed positive cases on the Navajo Nation include the following counties:

  • Apache County, AZ: 948
  • McKinley County, NM: 928
  • Navajo County, AZ: 757
  • San Juan County, NM: 428
  • Coconino County, AZ: 353
  • San Juan County, UT: 126
  • Cibola County, NM: 37
  • Sandoval County, NM: 26
  • Socorro County, NM: 26
  • Bernalillo County: 3
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer announced another Public Health Emergency Order to implement a 57-hour weekend lockdown starting 8:00 pm on May 15 to 5:00 am on May 18, and to close all essential businesses due to the community spread of COVID-19. In regards to the increase in COVID-19 cases, Nez stated that early projections from health care experts in March, showed that the Navajo Nation would reach its peak in the number of new cases in mid-May.
“The projections from health care experts seem to be accurate because we are seeing a peak in numbers now and we are hopeful that it will begin to flatten and eventually decline. The weekend lockdown is to further restrict the movement of individuals on the Nation and to and from border towns. The number of COVID-19 positive cases and the number of fatalities continues to increase because individuals continue to leave their homes, many on weekends to avoid the weekend lockdowns. We will overcome COVID-19, but it’s going to be a much longer process as long as people continue to travel unnecessarily. It’s up to us to flatten the curve and bring the numbers down by staying home,” said Nez.
The Navajo Nation’s 57-hour weekend lockdown requires all residents to remain at home except essential workers, first responders, and health care workers. Essential businesses, including stores, gas stations, restaurants, drive-thru food establishments, hay vendors, and other vendors, shall cease all operations during the lockdown.
“The state of Arizona and other states are reopening restaurants and other businesses, however, the Navajo Nation is not ready to open. Based on the advice from our health care experts and the data, we need to continue to take precautionary measures until the number of cases decreases. We have to be more disciplined and accountable for our actions – collectively and individually,” said Lizer.