- By Native News Online Staff
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indian Country soared past 1,0000 and the death toll crept upward on Monday, as tribes throughout the country grappled with the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The number of confirmed cases throughout Indian Country reached 1,039 on Sunday, according to information from the Indian Health Service. That number rose to more than 1,110 on Monday and the number of deaths reached 39, according to a database of COVID-19 cases compiled by the publication Indian Country Today, which is affiliated with the National Congress of American Indians.
Navajo Nation continues to be Indian Country’s epicenter for the virus. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached 813 on Monday night, as the number of deaths from the virus rose to 28. The number of fatalities on the reservation, which spans across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, is more than the number who have died in eleven states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
On Monday, other tribes reported increases in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
In North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reported three new cases on Monday, bringing the total number of tribe members infected to six. Two individuals are residents of Jackson County and one individual resides in Cherokee County. All remain isolated in their homes.
The Cherokee Nation Health Service reported that its total number of positive cases as of Monday was 31, reflecting three new cases for the Oklahoma tribe.
Also on Monday, the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona reported two new confirmed positive cases, bringing the total number to 20, according to a Facebook post by Chairwoman Gwendena Lee-Gatewood. The post also notes one non-resident tribal member has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Gila River Indian Community outside of Phoenix reported one additional case on Monday, according to a video posted last evening by Chairman Steven Rowe, who also talked about progress in speeding up testing for the virus and the tribe’s purchase of equipment that provides high-capacity testing and results in as little as 15 minutes.
In Arizona, the virus has exacted an inordinately heavy toll on tribal members, who make up less than five percent of the state’s population. As of Monday, Native Americans represented 15 percent of the deaths according to stats posted on a dashboard created by the Arizona Dept. of Health Services. The dashboard shows 234 positive cases involving Native Americans, as of April 13.
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