Navajo Nation reports 14 cases of coronavirus, President Nez urges public to stay home

Coronavirus New Mexico

WINDOW ROCK, AZ (KRQE)- The Navajo Health Command Operations Center issued a Public Health Emergency Order on Thursday, March 19 as the Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area IHS confirmed that the total positive number of coronavirus cases on the Navajo Nation is now at 14.

According to a Navajo Nation press release, the majority of those 14 cases involve patients who originally reported their symptoms to Kayenta IHS Service Unit and the others either reported to or were taken to Chinle Health Care Facility and Northern Navajo Medical Center.

The Navajo Nation reports that health officials are taking every precaution to screen and isolate those individuals’ family members as well as other individuals. The Navajo Health Command Operations Center and Navajo Area IHS are currently trying to determine if the cases are related and if so, how that came to be.

The Public Health Emergency Order requires the Chilchinbeto community in Arizona to issue a shelter-in-place requiring residents to stay home in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says that the order could be put in place for the entire Navajo Nation should reports of the virus become widespread.

“We are awaiting more details on the cases. We understand that the public has many questions and we ask that the public be patient until the facts are gathered – we do not want to report any misinformation,” said President Nez in a press release. “I assure everyone that the Navajo Health Command Operations Center, Navajo Area IHS, and the 638 Tribal Health Organizations are working proactively to investigate each case to prevent the spread of the virus. Everyone must remain home at this point and let the health care and emergency experts do their jobs. Please be respectful and adhere to their directions as they are doing their best to protect our communities.”

Officials with the Navajo Health Command Operations Center are trying to secure care packages for those in need in the community of Chilchinbeto. The elderly and residents that are high-risk will be identified as a top priority.

The Navajo Nation also reports that enhanced travel restrictions are currently in place which urge all citizens not to travel unless necessary to obtain essential items including groceries, medication, emergencies, medical appointments, and livestock care. This notice also encourages citizens to stay at home for at least 15-days.

On Wednesday, March 18, a Public Health Emergency Order was issued that requires restaurants to open at no greater than 50% of maximum occupancy and no greater than 50% of seating capacity. Booths and tables cannot seat more than six people and all occupied booths and tables are required to be separated by at least six-feet.

Restaurants must also limit employees to “essential staff” and must display prevention and awareness signs for customers. Fastfood restaurants are limited to drive-thru services, flea markets and other indoor and outdoor markets are suspended and social gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited. Exemptions to this rule include grocery and retail stores, and hospitals.

Those with questions are directed to the Navajo Health Command Operations Center at 928-871-7014. Those in the Chilchinbeto community with questions are asked to call 928-871-6271.

If an individual has COVID-19 symptoms, you are asked to contact your local health care center before arriving at a hospital facility.

  • Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility – 928-674-7001/7688
  • Crownpoint Health Care Facility – 505-786-5291/6381
  • Fort Defiance Indian Hospital Board, INC – 928-729-8000
  • Gallup Indian Medical Center – 505-722-1000
  • Sage Memorial – 928-755-4500
  • Kayenta Health Center – 928-697-4000
  • Northern Navajo Medical Center – 505-368-6001
  • Tuba City Regional Health Care – 866-976-5941
  • Utah Navajo Regional Health System -866-976-5941
  • Winslow Indian Health Care Center -928-289-4646
  • Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center – 844-542-8201
  • New Mexico Coronavirus Hotline – 855600-3453

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