Navajo Nation confirms 36 new cases of COVID-19, total now to 9,293

Coronavirus New Mexico

Shiprock (Adobe Spark)

NAVAJO NATION (KRQE) – The Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center is reporting the following coronavirus numbers as of Saturday, August 8:

  • Positive COVID-19 Cases: 9,293
  • Total Negative Results: 75,244
  • Total Tests Administered: 84,537
  • Recovered: 6,810
  • Deaths: 470

*multiple health care facilities were unable to report the number of recoveries and tests completed for Saturday, August 8’s report due to technical issues with the reporting system.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation

The following numbers are reported as of Thursday, August 6. The Nation reports seven residences with positive virus cases are not specific enough to place them accurately in a service unit.

  • Chinle Service Unit: 2,254
  • Crownpoint Service Unit: 775
  • Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 718
  • Gallup Service Unit: 1,500
  • Kayenta Service Unit: 1,281
  • Shiprock Service Unit: 1,454
  • Tuba City Service Unit: 870
  • Winslow Service Unit: 437

During an online town hall on Tuesday, August 4, President Jonathan Nez announced that the Navajo Nation will change its 57-hour weekend lockdown to a 32-hour weekend lockdown starting on Saturday, August 8 at 9 p.m. until Monday, August 10 at 5 a.m. The daily curfew has also been changed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The Navajo Nation reports the Navajo Department of Health and the Health Command Operations Center is preparing for the upcoming winter flu season and that they have also created a vaccination group to develop plans to secure and distribute a vaccine for COVID-19 once it is proven to be safe and reliable.

The Navajo Nation reports that on Wednesday, President Nez and Vice President Lizer signed an executive order that extends the Nation’s state of emergency and closure of government offices and entities from July 27, 2020, to August 16, 2020. The decision was reportedly based on the recommendations of health experts and data from Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona as well as nearby cities that show increases in virus cases.

President Nez and Vice President Lizer’s administration states they are working with businesses to setup food donation drop-off sites at grocery stores that will allow Navajo Nation residents to donate non-perishable food items that will be available to Navajos and those living in the Phoenix area in order to help give back to those who donated essential items to the Nation.

Navajo Nation officials also urge residents to continue wearing masks, stay home as much as possible, practice social distancing, avoid gatherings, and wash their hands frequently. The stay at home order remains in effect and individuals are urged to strictly limit movement and public contact with others. Residents may leave their homes to perform essential activities or for emergencies.

Individuals are required to avoid close contact with those that are sick, wash their hands for 20-seconds frequently, avoid touching high-touch surfaces, wear a mask, clean and disinfect your residence, avoid public gatherings, and to avoid non-essential travel.

During a town hall on Tuesday, July 7, President Nez presented his administration’s proposal for the remaining CARES Act Funds that include the following:

  • $300 million for water infrastructure and agriculture projects
  • $150 million for powerline and solar infrastructure
  • $50 million for broadband/telecommunication
  • $50 million for scholarships to assist students that are entering the healthcare and public safety fields
  • $60 million to help Navajo businesses and to promote economic development
  • $20 million to address housing needs
  • the remaining amount will go towards chapter projects and direct aid for the Navajo people

After the approval of $61 million for first responders, care packages, bathroom additions, and additional resources to protect employees and to begin the reopening of the government there will be a remaining amount of $662 in CARES Act funding.

All Navajo Nation residents are urged to comply with the Stage 2 fire restrictions that are in place that prohibit the use of fireworks, open fires, and trash burning to prevent wildfires. In a town hall on Tuesday, June 30, President Nez discussed data from the Department of Health that shows there is a flattening of the curve for COVID-19 cases that indicates weekend lockdowns, wearing face masks, and daily curfews are working.

Health officials are urging residents not to drink or inject bleach, Lysol, or any other disinfectants as a treatment for COVID-19. Do not use hand sanitizers that contain methanol which is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. Residents are also urged not to mix chemicals and to keep them out of the reach of children.

The Navajo Nation previously reported that health care experts were reporting cases of individuals drinking hand sanitizer which has resulted in hospital visits and several people in critical condition. Swallowing hand alcohol-based sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning.

The Navajo Nation reports that after an individual tests positive for COVID-19, health care providers may refer them to an isolation site for two weeks in order to prevent the spread of the virus. While the majority of patients who test positive will have a mild illness and should be able to recover at home in a separate room, those who are not able to do so or those who don’t have stable and safe housing may be eligible for care at an isolation site.

According to a press release by the Navajo Nation, isolation sites are for short term and patients are expected to leave once they test negative for the virus or have completed the recommended time of self-isolation. If an individual chooses to leave the site for personal reasons before they recover, they must acknowledge that they could be contagious and may infect others.

If you or someone you know needs assistance dealing with stress or the emotional effects of COVID-19, you are asked to call the Navajo Regional Behavioral Health Center at 505-368-1438 or 505-368-1467 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

On Sunday, June 14, the Arizona Department of Health reported that there were 1,233 new cases of the virus in the entire state since Saturday and there was an increase in hospitalizations, ICU bed occupancy, and ventilator usage as the result of community spread of COVID-19.

Nez and Lizer urge Navajo citizens to remain at home as much as possible in order to avoid another spike in virus cases as areas such as Arizona continue to see increases in new cases. The Nation cites a report from Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona that says the use of ventilators for COVID-19 patients has quadrupled since Memorial Day.

During a town hall meeting, the president explained how the Nation will continue to fight the pandemic and address the needed relief for families, workers, and businesses which is outlined in the comprehensive expenditure plan for the $600 million that came from the federal CARES Act. The plan outlines immediate expenditure of $50.5 million for PPE, care packages for COVID-19 families, hazard pay for Navajo Nation essential employees, deep sanitation of Navajo government offices, reconfiguration of offices, telework computer systems, and assistance to P.L. 93-638 healthcare facilities.

During a town hall on Tuesday, May 26, President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer stated that recent data and new surge projections by the Navajo Area Indian Health Service indicate that the COVID-19 surge peak for IHS hospitalizations occurred from April 21 to April 26. These projections are a month earlier than initial surge projections on March 27.

(courtesy Navajo Area Indian Health Service)

President Nez says the Nation is flattening the curve as 14.6% of citizens have been tested for the virus as of Monday, May 25. The Nation reports it is testing a higher rate per capita than any state in the country.

The Nation reports that it continues to conduct large-scale testing of residents and three Alternative Care Sites are currently being used in Gallup, Shiprock, and Chinle. The Navajo Nation received around $600 million in CARES Act funding on Wednesday, May 6. The funding includes guidelines and provisions from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Navajo Nation President Nez stated the funding represents only about 60% of the allocation according to the federal government. The president’s administration is currently in the process of reviewing the guidelines and provisions.

For more information including reports, helpful prevention tips, and more resources, please visit
the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at http://www.ndoh.navajonsn.gov/COVID-19. To contact the main Navajo Health Command Operations Center, please
call (928) 871-7014.

This story will be updated with the most recent information available.

Navajo Nation COVID-19 Resources


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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