- By Levi Rickert
By Darren Thompson, Special to Native News Online
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Overnight, the Navajo Nation had its first reported death from the COVID-19 virus, Native News Online has learned.
The tribal citizen who passed away was also the first person on Navajo Nation who had tested positive for COVID-19, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus. A family member of the deceased confirmed his death to Native News Online on Friday afternoon.
The individual, who passed away in Phoenix earlier today, was a 46-year-old tribal citizen from the community of Chilchinbeto, Ariz. As reported earlier this week, the individual had recently traveled outside the Navajo Nation. The individual first reported having coronavirus symptoms to the Kayenta Health Center in Kayenta, Ariz. and was then transferred to a hospital in Phoenix. The Arizona Department of Health later confirmed the positive test result. Members of the individual’s family were also screened and isolated.
There are seven others in the deceased individual’s family who have tested positive for COVID-19.
As of yesterday, the Navajo Health Command Operations Center of Chilchinbeto issued a shelter-in-place order, requiring residents to remain in their home due to the spread of the virus. The family member who spoke to Native News Online said that the entire family is deeply concerned because traditional ceremonial burial practices require people to gather. The family member said they will not be attending the burial services because they are quarantined as well.
More Stories Like ThisREPORT: Amazon.com partnering with Puyallup Tribe to Build Sorting Center on Tribal Lands near Tacoma, Wash.
Washington Tribe Waits to Resume Whaling
Indian Country Remembers Contributions of Rep. Dale Kildee Who Passed Away Last Week
Chumash Culture Day to be streamed on Facebook Live
Funding Available for Native Cultural Institutions
Native Perspective. Native Voices. Native News.
We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.