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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — With almost 600 new cases of Covid-19 reported since a week ago Thursday on the Navajo Nation, leaders of the Navajo Nation are asking parents to stay home and celebrate upcoming holidays, including Halloween at home with household members to help reduce the spreard of the deadly virus. 

The Navajo Department of Health further advises Navajo Nation residents to avoid in-person gatherings and activities to protect elders, vulnerable populations, and families.

Public health officials strongly advise against in-person gatherings and activities, such as door-to- door trick-or-treating, in-person costume contests, large dinner parties with non-household members, haunted houses, and fall carnivals. Currently public health emergency orders prohibit in-person gatherings of five or more people.

“The number of COVID-19 cases is rising once again on the rise on the Navajo Nation. We are in a challenging situation right now, but we can prevent the further spread of the virus. If we have people gathering or traveling off the Nation during the holidays, the number of COVID-19 cases will quickly multiply even more. Since March, we have been fighting this invisible monster known as COVID-19, and we need to step up precautionary measures to protect our elders, children, and those with underlying health conditions. Our health care system cannot handle another large surge within a short amount of time. Please be aware and celebrate Halloween safely at home
with your children,” President Nez said on Friday.

On Friday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 90 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and three more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 578 as of Friday. Reports indicate that 7,533 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 124,712 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 11,694, including three delayed reported cases.

Navajo Nation COVID-19 positive cases by Service Unit:

  • Chinle Service Unit: 2,608
  • Crownpoint Service Unit: 1,175
  • Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 1,221
  • Gallup Service Unit: 1,784
  • Kayenta Service Unit: 1,401
  • Shiprock Service Unit: 1,792
  • Tuba City Service Unit: 1,117 
  • Winslow Service Unit: 587

* Nine residences with COVID-19 positive cases are not specific enough to place them accurately in a Service Unit.

The Navajo Nation’s 56-hour weekend lockdown begins on Friday, Oct. 30 at 9:00 p.m. (MDT) until Monday, Nov. 2 at 5:00 a.m. (MDT). On Friday, the state of New Mexico reported 1,010 new cases of COVID-19, the state of Arizona reported 1,565 new cases, and Utah reported 2,292.

“The Navajo Police Department will hold road checkpoints to enforce the 56-hour weekend lockdown on the Navajo Nation throughout the weekend. We strongly urge all Navajo Nation residents to remain home, especially during Halloween. This is a very troubling trend in terms of new cases and community spread. Our public health experts can continue issuing warnings and public health orders, but if our citizens don’t adhere to their advice then we’re going to be faced with a major public health crisis very soon. Be safe, stay home, wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and avoid large crowds,” President Nez said.

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: https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19&source=gmail&ust=1604202322340000&usg=AFQjCNG3AQ0IpLRW4ohgYKedNPZfSXe5YA">http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19. For COVID-19 related questions and information, call (928) 871-7014.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].