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With the state of Arizona spiking with new COVID-19 cases, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez stressed importance of staying home. Photo from June 15 town hall.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – "With the state of Arizona relaxing its precautions and allowing its stay-at-home order to expire, the metropolitan areas are seeing dramatic increases of COVID-19 cases. I cannot stress enough to our Navajo people the importance of staying home," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said on Tuesday. "It only takes a few people traveling to Phoenix or other hotspots to catch the virus and start another wave of new cases here on the Navajo Nation. If we stay at home and limit all travels, we can beat this virus," President Nez added.

On Tuesday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 39 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation and eight new deaths.The total number of deaths is 319 as of Tuesday. Reports from 11 health care facilities indicate that approximately 3,277 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with one health care facility report still pending. 45,499 people have been tested for COVID-1z9. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 6,672.

Navajo Nation cases by Service Unit:

  • Chinle Service Unit: 1,743
  • Crownpoint Service Unit: 619
  • Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 420
  • Gallup Service Unit: 1,127
  • Kayenta Service Unit: 962
  • Shiprock Service Unit: 1,101
  • Tuba City Service Unit: 544
  • Winslow Service Unit: 148

* Eight residences are not specific enough to place them accurately in a Service Unit

"We have to keep doing what we're doing by wearing protective masks, complying with the weekend lockdowns, staying home, and maintaining a six-foot distance from others. Now is not the time to back down. Let’s not back down! Wear your masks, practice social distancing, and wash your hands," President Nez said.

On Tuesday, the Navajo Nation issued Public Health Emergency Order 2020-015, ordering Public for a 57-hour weekend lockdown beginning on Friday, June 19, at 8:00 p.m. until Monday, June 22, at 5:00 a.m. (MDT), and a travel advisory outside the Navajo Nation due to the increased of COVID-19 cases in areas surrounding the Navajo Nation. The order also includes a second lockdown beginning on Friday, June 26, at 8:00 p.m. until Monday, June 29, at 5:00 a.m. (MDT).

All individuals should remain home during the lockdown hours except in the event of an emergency. The daily curfew exempts essential employees with official documentation or a letter of designation from their employer with official letterhead and contact information for verification. The weekend lockdown also requires the closure of all businesses on the Navajo Nation.

During the Office of the President and Vice President Facebook live Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, President Nez and Vice President Lizer also launched “The Navajo Nation #DontBackDown” campaign to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and encouraged individuals to join the fight against the virus.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi 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]