- By Native News Online Staff
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Several Indian Health Service (IHS) intensive care units at full capacity on the Navajo Nation. Other provisions are being made according to Navajo Nation leaders and health officials.
“Recently, Navajo Area IHS reported that some of their intensive care units, ICU’s, are at full capacity and other bed space is also filling up quickly due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases recently. We have to consider all options to help our health care workers and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement released on Sunday evening. "If you’re positive for COVID-19 and don’t want to risk spreading the virus to those that live under the same roof as you, please strongly consider self-isolating at one of these hotel isolation sites."
The Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center (HCOC), under the direction of the Navajo Department of Health, is currently working in partnership with companies PAE and AMI to establish an Alternative Care Site on the Navajo Nation to allow individuals who test positive for COVID-19, to be referred to be housed at the site or other isolation hotel facilities to help prevent spreading the virus to their household members and others. In addition, individuals who are awaiting test results can also quarantine at the isolation hotel facilities.
So far, HCOC and its partners established an Alternative Care Site in operation at Chinle, Ariz., and isolation hotels in Gallup and Farmington, N.M. and will open other sites in Tuba City and Holbrook, Ariz. Each isolation hotel site provides clinical observation and monitoring for positive COVID-19 individuals. Individuals in need of acute care and do not require intensive medical care will be cared for at the Chinle Alternate Care Site by doctors and nurses.
The process for isolation at one of the isolation hotels requires a referral from a clinician, a public health nurse, a community health representative, or a social worker who can call the COVID-19 Coordination Center at 1-844-935-3932. The referring provider and the isolation site clinical staff will communicate the patient’s progress to ensure continuity of care. The COVID-19 Coordination Center will assist in coordinating transportation.
“As we continue to experience bed capacity concerns, we must make available safe isolation options for those living in multigenerational homes, living with a person with underlying health conditions, sharing a room and bathroom. We must do all we can do to protect our health care workers, high risk families, and especially our elders,” Dr. Jill Jim, the directo of the Navajo Nation Health Department said.
Expectations while isolated at the Alternative Care Sites includes:
- Follow isolation guidelines, which include fulfilling the recommended duration of self-isolation. 7-10 days for isolation and to quarantine 1-2 days while awaiting test results.
- Understand that you may need to be transferred to a hospital or other facility where medical care is available if symptoms escalate.
- Be respectful of other guests and staff members.
- Understand there will be no visitors allowed and there is security on-site 24/7
- If you choose to leave, you acknowledge that you may be contagious and may be able to infect other people. At this point we would request that the guest complete an Against Medical Advice (AMA) form, and an update will be given to Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center (NNHCOC) and their referring provider
Common amenities include meals, television, daily checkups, telemedicine calls with referring provider or case manager. The Chinle site also provides access to Netflix and outdoor space to communicate with family members. Officials also recommend bringing the following to maximize personal comfort, but are not required.
- Basic personal hygiene products will be available on site
- Comfortable Clothing/sleepwear
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
- Soap, shampoo, conditioner
- Feminine hygiene
- Makeup, makeup remover
- Shaving supplies
- Skin products
- Brush, comb, hair products
- Nail supplies/tweezers
- Glasses, contact lenses, supplies
- Containers for contacts/dentures
- Cell phone and charging cables
- Laptop/iPad/e-reader and chargers
Navajo Department of Health announces additional free COVID-19 testing sites
For the month of December, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (MST) on the following days and locations:
Mondays: Kayenta Chapter and Tuba City Chapter
Tuesdays: Chinle Chapter
Wednesdays: Dilkon Chapter and St. Michaels Chapter
Thursdays: Crownpoint Chapter and Shiprock Chapter
What you need to know prior to attending the drive-thru:
- Complete testing form before or at testing site
- Stay in your car when you arrive
- A testing team member will collect sample
- Individuals testing POSITIVE will be notified between 2-3 days of test results
- All test results will be shared with the local health facility for contact tracing
- Please answer your phone calls, results will not be left on voicemail or text
- Contact the Coordination Center at 1-844-935-3932 for results and information on Nation COVID-19 isolation and quarantine resources
- Schedule is subject to change due to weather
- For questions, contact the Health Command Operations Center: (928) 871-7014
Navajo Area IHS also continues to offer COVID-19 testing at each of their service units. 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=1607398368629000&usg=AFQjCNEZpzvok9DzGcAli7W3YDwIc5II_g">http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19. For COVID-19 related questions and information, call (928) 871-7014.
Since you're here...
We believe 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. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift of $5 or more to Native News Online 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.