Updates related to COVID-19 and its effects on Albuquerque and the rest of NM.
Navajo Nation creates official donation fund; restaurants to close during weekend curfew
The Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center has created the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Fund to accept donations during the current public health crisis. In a video update Thursday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the official fund would be used to purchase medical supplies and personal protective equipment for Navajo healthcare workers, law enforcement and communities.
To donate, visit http://www.nndoh.org/donate.html, call (928) 871-6206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area Indian Health Service and Navajo Epidemiology Center reported 121 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, for a total of 1,042 COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation. The agencies reported three additional deaths from the disease, bringing the COVID-19 death toll on the Navajo Nation to 41.
In Thursday’s video update, Dr. Jill Jim, executive director of the Navajo Department of Health, announced that restaurants and food vendors would be closed during the upcoming 57-hour weekend curfew in an effort to curb community spread of the disease. Gas stations and grocery stores may operate during the weekend curfew, but must limit their hours and occupancy.
The weekend curfew begins on Friday, April 17, at 8:00 p.m. and ends on Monday, April 20 at 5 a.m. The Navajo Nation will also have a weekend curfew from April 24 to April 27.
Navajo residents do not have to remain inside during the curfew, but should limit movement to their home area. Essential employees are exempt from the curfew, but must have identification from their employer. Navajo police have set up checkpoints throughout the reservation. As of Wednesday evening, the Navajo Police Department had confirmed nine employees tested positive for COVID-19, and are in self-isolation.
During the townhall update, David Nez, Incident Commander for the Navajo Health Command Operations Center, said that chapter houses are still providing essential services like water and food deliveries and trash pickup. On Wednesday, the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department delivered 80,000 pounds of food to be distributed to elders and vulnerable residents on the reservation in Sheep Springs, Standing Rock and Thoreau.
Here’s how to help.
— Theresa Davis
8 reported dead on deadliest day of NM coronavirus outbreak
New Mexico health officials reported eight more deaths Thursday as the coronavirus outbreak continued to grip the state, pushing the total number of dead to 44.
It was the most deaths reported in any one day since New Mexico’s first confirmed case was reported March 11.
The deaths includes people ranging in age from their 30s to their 80s — including five adults in San Juan and McKinley counties, which both have high Native American populations.
— Dan McKay
AG’s investigation into La Vida Llena reveals ‘deficiencies’
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says that an Albuquerque retirement community where dozens of residents and employees have become infected with COVID-19 has failed to follow public health orders, provided inadequate updates to residents and discouraged personnel from wearing personal protective equipment.
Balderas is also raising financial concerns about La Vida Llena, home to over 400 people in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights.
In a letter Thursday to DeAnn Eaton, CEO for La Vida Llena’s parent company, Balderas wrote that his office’s investigation into the facility is ongoing, but that he wanted to detail some of the early findings “In the hopes that these deficiencies can be immediately improved upon to prevent future risks of harm to LVL’s staff and residents.”
— Jessica Dyer
Navajo Nation COVID-19 cases reach 921
The Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Service reported 83 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, for a total of 921 cases. The Navajo Nation also reported an additional five COVID-19 deaths. There are now 38 COVID-19 deaths on the Navajo Nation. The agencies reported a total of 3,239 negative tests.
In a short video update Wednesday, Navajo President Jonathan Nez said the Navajo Area Indian Health Service had received rapid test kits and 50 ventilators from the federal government.
President Nez said many residents on the reservation are starting to receive stimulus checks from the federal government. He urged Diné to shop local, follow social distancing guidelines, and wear masks and gloves when shopping at grocery stores and other essential businesses.
Navajo Vice President Myron Lizer encouraged Navajo residents to save what money they could, and to “fight the urge to ride off into our border towns to spend that money.”
“For those of you who can, sit tight, stay home, and let others who desperately need to get out there to our local supermarkets get their necessities,” Lizer said.
The Navajo Health Command Operations Center hotline is (928) 871-7014.
Here’s how to help.
— Theresa Davis