WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — As with much of the United States where cases are again surging, the Navajo Nation during the past two weeks has seen a rapid increase in Covid-19 positive cases. 

On Saturday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 158 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 591 as previously reported on Friday. Reports indicate that 7,641 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 131,525 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 12,447, including one delayed reported case.

Navajo Nation COVID-19 positive cases by Service Unit:

  • Chinle Service Unit: 2,745
  • Crownpoint Service Unit: 1,339
  • Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 1,274
  • Gallup Service Unit: 1,916
  • Kayenta Service Unit: 1,442
  • Shiprock Service Unit: 1,861
  • Tuba City Service Unit: 1,240
  • Winslow Service Unit: 621

* 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 curfew is in effect until 5:00 a.m. (MST) on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 due to the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in 29 communities on the Navajo Nation. The increase in the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in certain communities is largely due to travel off the Navajo Nation and family gatherings. 

On Saturday, the state of New Mexico reported 1,287 new cases of COVID-19, the state of Arizona reported 2,621 new cases, and Utah reported a record-high of 2,956. 

“Stay local, stay safe. With the revised provisions in place that allow our residents to access grocery stores, curb-side food service, gas stations, and other essential items on weekends, we are hoping that more of our people stay home and stay safe. The states of New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona are reporting consistent high daily numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19. If we continue on the same trajectory with new cases, we’re going to find ourselves in a position with limited hospital bed space and a major strain on medical resources and staffing. We have to think beyond ourselves and think of others during this pandemic,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. 

To encourage residents to stay local and stay safe during the 56-hour weekend curfew, gas stations, grocery stores, laundromats, and restaurants and food establishments will remain open between the hours of 7:00 a.m. (MST) and 3:00 p.m. (MST). These businesses are required to ensure employees and customers wear masks, practice social distancing, disinfect high-touch surfaces, access to hand wash stations, sanitizers and gloves, and limit the number of customers in any enclosed areas. Restaurants and food establishments must operate on a curbside or drive-thru basis only.

During the 56-hour weekend lockdown, individuals are permitted to conduct farming activities and tend to livestock, however livestock owners must plan ahead to purchase hay and feed – hay vendors will not be allowed to sell. Residents are also allowed to exercise outdoors within their immediate residential area or home site area. Wood gathering and hauling is allowed with a permit issued by the Navajo Nation Forestry Department. Essential Employees reporting to or from duty are exempted from the weekend lockdown, but must carry official identification or a letter of designation from their employer on official letterhead which includes a contact name and number for verification. 

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=1604925855316000&usg=AFQjCNG8a7_NUJCa1MLd6GY10al9enAtgg">http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19. For COVID-19 related questions and information, call (928) 871-7014.

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Author: Native News Online Staff