Cases climb to 1,360; IHS official reiterates prevention measures
The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 1,360, which includes 642 men and 718 women with an average age of 48 years old.
The 1,360 confirmed positive cases on the Navajo Nation include the following counties: Navajo County, AZ: 350; Apache County, AZ: 287; Coconino County, AZ: 229; McKinley County, NM: 296; San Juan County, NM: 135; Cibola County, NM: 14; Socorro County, NM: 17; Sandoval County, NM: 13; San Juan County, UT: 19.
“We have a lot of people who are working on this response effort,” said Capt. Brian Johnson, Navajo Area Indian Health Service deputy director, during today’s virtual town hall meeting. “I want to assure the public that people are working hard day in and day out, and will continue to do that.”
Although there isn’t a vaccine for COVID-19 Johnson stressed that washing you hands is a potent prevention. Basic precautions such as washing your hands need to be shared with everyone far and wide, Johnson said.
“I’ve been reading more and more and listening more and more about this particular virus. It is very fragile against soap and water, Johnson said. “So if you use soap, it destroys the protective layer around this virus and it’s very effective at doing that.”
He noted that 60 percent alcohol sanitizer is effective. He said protecting the nose, eyes, and mouth is important and you can do this by practicing proper social distancing and keeping a safe distance of six feet away from people.
“Shelter-in-place at the community level continues to be important,” said Johnson. “We can talk about curfew … shelter in place … stay home, all of these things lead to one thing and that is separating yourself from others. It spreads from person to person. If we keep ourselves isolated from one another for a period of time the virus will no longer be able to spread.”
Johnson said shelter-in-place doesn’t mean not allowing yourself to go outside. He said going outside, jogging, taking walks and getting Vitamin D from the sun is allowed.
“Its not that you’re getting exposed from the environment,” said Johnson. “Keep in mind, it’s other people is what causes this disease to spread.”
When it comes to surfaces Johnson said wiping hard surfaces down with Clorox solution or disinfected is vital. As for vehicles he said be sure to sanitize the parts that are most touched such as the door handle and steering wheel; these can be a source of transmission.
The tricky aspect of COVID-19 is someone could have it and not know it, and because of this it’s easy to transmit it.
“That’s why we talk about that six-feet distance,” said Johnson. “It’s the droplets that come from coughs and sneezes that are the biggest problem and will get into your system.”