Navajo Nation COVID-19 Cases Rise to 71

Tuba City, a small town on the Navajo Nation.
Tuba City, a small town on the Navajo Nation. Jpatokal at wts wikivoyage via Wikimedia Commons
(Update: Ten more additional positive COVID-19 cases were announced by the Navajo Nation later on Tuesday following this report, bringing the total to 49 cases. There are now 30 cases in Navajo County, seven in Apache County, and six in Coconino County in Arizona. Six are outside the state, with four in McKinley County and two in San Juan County in New Mexico.)

(Update March 27: On Thursday, the number of Navajo Nation residents who tested positive for the novel coronavirus rose to 71. The Nation has not yet reported any deaths from COVID-19.)

Original story follows:

Ten more Navajo Nation community members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus today, according to the Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Services.

This brings the overall total to 39 confirmed cases among Navajo people.

The sovereign Nation is the country's largest Indian reservation, spanning parts of three states, with a population of about 350,000.

Twenty-five of its cases are in Arizona's Navajo County, six are in Apache County, and four are in Coconino County. Four are in New Mexico, in McKinley County.

To combat the spread of the virus, the Navajo Nation has been enforcing a public health emergency "stay at home" order since March 18.

The order requires all residents of the Navajo Nation to remain home and isolate, and all nonessential businesses to temporarily close.

Yesterday, the Navajo Department of Emergency Management, in coordination with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Office, began issuing emergency alerts via text message to urge residents to follow the order.

"Help beat the virus by staying home," said Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, in today's press release announcing the new cases. "If you need essential items, send only one person and use every precaution available.”

The Navajo Police Department is also on the ground using public address systems to inform communities about the order.

“Stay home, stay safe, save lives! Our first responders are on the ground working hard to help our communities,” said Myron Lizer, vice president of the Navajo Nation. "We will beat this virus together. We are praying every day for our people who are sick and their families."

Supplies are also arriving from the Strategic National Stockpile and being delivered to health care centers on the Navajo Nation, according to Nez.

To date, there are no confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 for residents of the Navajo Nation.

If Navajo Nation residents need assistance or have questions about COVID-19, they can contact the main Navajo Health Command Operations Center at 928-871-7014.

For Chilchinbeto residents specifically, Navajo Nation leaders are advising they call 928-871-6271.

All residents of the Navajo Nation can register to receive alerts from the Navajo Department of Emergency Management by texting “NavajoNation” to 888777 or signing up online at
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Hannah Critchfield was an editorial fellow for Phoenix New Times starting in 2019.