Navajo Nation Sees Spike In COVID-19 Cases After Curve Had Started To Flatten

Published: Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 11:59am
Updated: Monday, May 4, 2020 - 9:41am
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Jonathan Nez

Public health officials with the Navajo Nation announced 166 new cases of COVID-19 and a total of 73 deaths Friday, in a spike that came after the disease curve began to flatten on the reservation.

A lot of the uptick in cases can be linked to the increase in testing in the Navajo Nation — but President Jonathan Nez said people traveling to border towns and returning to the reservation aren’t helping.

“The Navajo Nation continues to move up the curve on the number of positive cases and deaths," Nez said in a statement. "Last week, we began to see a slight flattening of the curve, but so many people continue to travel to border towns and now we’re seeing spikes in new cases again."

More than 13,000 tests have been administered, and more than 9,000 have come back negative. Those with positive results will have better options for isolation and care, the president's statement said.

"Those who test positive will soon be able to isolate themselves at one of the Alternative Care Sites and this will help to prevent the spread among families and communities," Nez said. "Let’s be strong and keep fighting together by staying home and avoiding hotshot areas.”

The Navajo Nation is currently under a 57-hour weekend curfew, and tribal police are staffing checkpoints and issuing citations to violators.

“We don’t want any more of our people getting the virus and we don’t want any more grieving families," Vice President Myron Lizer said. "Please think of others, think of the families who have lost their sons, daughters, parents, and grandparents to COVID-19. Health experts tell us that the best prevention is staying home, washing our hands, and disinfecting surfaces in common areas. This means that prevention is up to us and it is an individual responsibility to protect our families and communities."

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