President Nez vetoes resolution that would have reopened Navajo Nation roads to visitors & tourists

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation has reinstated the “Stay-At-Home” order due to an increase of Covid-19 cases.

Two weeks ago, there was one day with zero reported cases. On Friday, there were 26 reported new Covid-19 cases.

“The data indicates that residents are traveling more and more and holding in-person family gatherings. We have to do better and respect the words and advice of our public health experts. Think of all the sacrifices that our frontline warriors have made for us all. They come into contact with Covid-19 positive individuals and fight for their lives every day. So, before you decide to travel or hold an in-person gathering, think about the risks and think about our health care workers and the risks they are taking for us each day. Stay home as much as possible, wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid large in-person gatherings, and wash your hands often,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said on Friday.

On March 31, the Navajo Nation announced the first confirmed case of the U.K. variant followed by the first case of the California variant, B.1.429, on April 6.

Citing the recent confirmed cases of two Covid-19 variants on the Navajo Nation and increasing numbers of variant cases in southwest states, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez vetoed a resolution on Friday which would have reopened Navajo Nation roads to all visitors and tourists. 

“The CDC confirmed this week that the U.K. variant is now the dominant COVID-19 strain in the United States, and we recently confirmed that the U.K. variant and the California variant are here on the Navajo Nation as well. We discussed this issue with our public health experts and agreed that we need to continue to monitor the variants to see the extent of their impacts in the next few weeks before we consider reopening our roads to visitors. We also need to continue the efforts to vaccinate more of our residents here on the Navajo Nation to move closer to herd immunity and this will take time. I understand that people want to travel and visit our sites here on the Navajo Nation, but we have to prioritize the health and well-being of our people,” Nez said.

In addition to the 12 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported there were no recent deaths. The total number of deaths remains 1,260 as previously reported on Thursday. Reports indicate that 16,430 individuals have recovered from Covid-19, and 257,625 Covid-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive Covid-19 cases is now 30,239.

Navajo Nation Covid-19 positive cases by Service Unit:

  • Chinle Service Unit: 5,533
  • Crownpoint Service Unit: 2,906
  • Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 3,604
  • Gallup Service Unit: 4,769
  • Kayenta Service Unit: 2,684
  • Shiprock Service Unit: 5,079
  • Tuba City Service Unit: 3,672
  • Winslow Service Unit: 1,974

* 18 residences with Covid-19 positive cases are not specific enough to place them accurately in a Service Unit.

On Friday, the state of Arizona reported 1,302 new cases, Utah reported 444, and New Mexico reported 126. The Navajo Department of Health issued Public Health Emergency Order No. 2021-008 on Friday, reinstating the Stay-At-Home order requiring all residents of the Navajo Nation to stay home and refrain from unnecessary travel to help limit the further spread of Covid-19 and the variants. The new public health order is available online at: https://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/Covid-19. The daily curfew remains in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (MDT). 

Health care facilities across the Navajo Nation continue to administer Covid-19 vaccines during drive-thru events or by appointment. If you would like to receive the vaccine, please contact your health care provider for more information for your Service Unit. 

“Vaccinations are key to fighting Covid-19 and the variants. According to the public health experts, fully vaccinated individuals are able to push back on the virus if they become infected. Even if you are fully vaccinated, it’s very important that you continue to take all precautions. Please help to inform your elders and others about the variants and benefits of receiving the vaccine. Continue to pray and be safe,” said Vice President Myron Lizer.

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: http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/Covid-19. For Covid-19 related questions and information, call (928) 871-7014. 

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