WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation surged past 2,000 on Thursday with 164 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases has reached 2,141.

Nine more COVID-19 related deaths were reported on Thursday evening, which brings the death toll to 71.

There have been a  total of 12,023 COVID-19 tests administered with 8,639 negative test results.

The 2,141 confirmed positive cases on the Navajo Nation include the following counties:

  • Navajo County, AZ: 502
  • Apache County, AZ: 515
  • Coconino County, AZ: 283
  • McKinley County, NM: 539
  • San Juan County, NM: 213
  • Cibola County, NM: 17
  • San Juan County, UT: 32
  • Socorro County, NM: 21
  • Sandoval County, NM: 19

“Nine more deaths is very disheartening, but we have to remain strong and remember that we will get through this pandemic. We will continue praying for all of the families that have lost their loved ones. There’s a big spike in positive cases today, but the upside is that there is a lot more testing being conducted and that’s why we’re seeing high numbers. Those who test positive will soon be able to isolate themselves at one of the Alternative Care Sites and this will help to flatten the curve. Let’s be strong and keep fighting together,” said President Nez, who added that the concentration of the virus has shifted from the western portion of the Navajo Nation to the eastern and northern regions, with “hotspots” in Farmington and Gallup, N.M.

City of Gallup Mayor Jackie McKinney issued a letter on Thursday, requesting New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to declare a state of emergency for Gallup, and to assist with implementing restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. President Nez said he fully supports the request and is hopeful that it will help to prevent Navajo people from traveling to the border town.

On Thursday, the Nez-Lizer Administration continued distributing food, water, fire wood, masks, and cleaning and hygiene items to 212 families in the communities of Nageezi and Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, N.M. Precautions were taken as they placed the items in vehicles with no direct contact with the residents. Items were also delivered to elderly and high-risk residents who were unable to pick-up the items on their own.

“Operation First of the Month will begin bright and early on Friday to put safety measures in place at Bashas’ Diné Market locations across the Navajo Nation, to help our Navajo elders shop and return home safely. Our staff and Division Directors will be on the ground helping in several communities and we will also continue distributing essential items to high-risk residents as well. Let’s stay home as much as possible and let’s continue to flatten the curve. Eventually, we will overcome COVID-19 with everyone’s help,” said President Nez.

Beginning on Friday at 8:00 p.m., the Navajo Nation’s 57-hour weekend curfew will go into effect requiring all residents to remain home with the exception of essential workers, including first responders, and in cases of emergencies. The Navajo Police will setup road checkpoints and issue citations to curfew violators as well.

“We don’t want any more of our people getting the virus and we don’t want any more grieving families. Please think of others, think of the families who have lost their sons, daughters, parents, and grandparents to COVID-19. Some people wonder when a cure or vaccine will be developed, but I believe we are the cure and the vaccine because we have the ability to rid our communities of the virus simply by staying home, practicing social distancing, and adhering to the advice of the health care experts,” said Vice President Lizer.

For more information including reports, helpful prevention tips, and more resources, please visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19. To contact the main Navajo Health Command Operations Center, please call (928) 871-7014.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi "Calm Before the Storm" 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].