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82 new cases, 2 new deaths as curve flattens slightly

WINDOW ROCK

There are 4,153 positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation and 144 deaths, but preliminary reports from six health care facilities indicate that approximately 1,001 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with more reports still pending.

The number, reported Tuesday, represents 82 new cases, down from a high of more than 200. It was the third day in a row the number of new cases has been below 100. There were also two new deaths, down from a high of 16. Experts had predicted the peak in cases would come in mid-May, and it appears that is happening.

A total of 26,267 COVID-19 tests have been administered with 20,200 negative results.

Over the past few days it’s been reported the Navajo Nation has more COVID-19 cases per capita than any of the states, even surpassing the national hotspot, New York. President Jonathan Nez said that’s because the Nation is testing more of its citizens than any state, so “of course you’ll get more positive and negative results.”

Nez said close to 12% of those living on the reservation have been tested compared to less than 10% for the states.

Recently communities in the Navajo Nation have been part of statewide pop-up testing blitzes. Yesterday the community of Tonalea was one of these testing sites, and this means there could be another spike in positive case numbers once those results are released.

“The more people we identify who have the virus, the more people that we can isolate to help flatten the curve,” said Nez.

Recently the accuracy of the Abbott rapid testing kits, which the Navajo Nation has been using, has been questioned. The Abbott tests, while delivering a response in as little as 15 minutes, are not as accurate as slower testing methods and have yielded both false negatives and false positives.
During his daily virtual town hall meeting, Nez said they are addressing this. “Sometimes you’ll have to test a person more than once,” Nez said. “We track those numbers.”



About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council and Office of the President and Vice President. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com. Follow her on Twitter at @abecenti

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