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Navajo Nation monitors rising virus cases

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The Navajo Nation will have 57-hour lockdowns for the next two weekends as the reservation monitors spikes of COVID-19 cases in some communities.

“We want to ensure this rebound that we’re experiencing is not a sustained rebound,” said Jill Jim, director of the Navajo Department of Health. “The purpose of this lockdown or any curfew is to make sure we stabilize the cases that we’re seeing.”

Since Labor Day, virus cases have risen steadily across the Navajo Nation.

Average daily cases in the past seven days have been the highest in the Fort Defiance region of Arizona, as well as in the Crownpoint region and in satellite communities in the eastern portion of the reservation.

Contact tracers on the Navajo Nation are investigating several gatherings that may have contributed to the recent spread of COVID-19, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.

“It is critical and crucial that we stay the course,” Nez said. “We need your help.”

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said the Navajo Nation should serve as a model for the rest of the U.S. in controlling the spread of the virus.

The tribal government has implemented a mask mandate, and advises residents and government employees to avoid nonessential travel outside the Navajo Nation.

“We are still in a pandemic,” Jim said.

Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer is self-isolating at home after attending a prayer march in Washington, D.C., last week.

On Monday night, the Navajo Department of Health reported 22 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths.

The Navajo Nation has reported 10,312 positive COVID-19 cases since March, with 555 deaths and 7,253 recoveries.

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