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COVID death toll spikes; cases near 4,000

Graphic courtesy of CDC

This illustration from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


Confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Navajo reservation increased by 147 Wednesday to 3,392, and another 16 people — the highest 24-hour death toll since the outbreak of the epidemic — succumbed to the virus, bringing the total to 119 deaths as of Wednesday.

There will be another 57-hour curfew this weekend, President Jonathan Nez announced.

The average age among the COVID-positive Diné is 44 and there are 1,594 men and 1,798 women who’ve tested positive. As for confirmed deaths the average age is 65 and more men have succumbed to the illness more than females with 72 men and 47 women deceased.

President Jonathan Nez mentioned during his Tuesday town hall that not only has Navajo Nation been aggressive with its testing, many have recovered of the over 3,000 positive cases and that needs to be taken into consideration. Numbers of recoveries have not been given.

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“We are doing our very best to test our citizens here on the Navajo Nation,” said Nez. “We are just adding on once we get positive cases. You would think those people that recovered would be subtracted… that’s not happening. Now everyone is looking at the Navajo Nation as a major hot spot.”

As predicted in a May 9 Health Command Operations Center daily report, peak days happen every four to days and Wednesday was a peak day.

In descending order by county, McKinley County (New Mexico) had 912 cases; Apache County (Arizona): 889; Navajo County (Arizona): 697; San Juan County (New Mexico): 410; Coconino County (Arizona): 335; San Juan County (Utah): 57; Cibola County (New Mexico): 37; Sandoval County (New Mexico): 26; Socorro County (New Mexico): 26; Bernalillo County (New Mexico): 3.

According to a May 13 Navajo Department of Health situation report, an increase of cases in the Shiprock area could be tied to City of Gallup lockdown and recent increased testing. Last week, there was drive-through testing outside of Shiprock High School.

It also stated that 105 of the 110 chapters have at least one positive case. Also in the report are the total number of cases of COVID-19 and the service units that the individuals had gone to. For the Chinle service unit: 830 cases; Crownpoint service unit: 398; Ft. Defiance service unit: 156; Gallup service unit: 649; Kayenta service unit: 506; Shiprock service unit:486; Tuba City service unit: 310; Winslow service unit: 30; 27 residences are not specific enough to place them accurately in a service unit.

When it comes to the citations given during the curfews from April 10 to May 10, there have been 825 criminal nuisance citations, and 480 traffic stops.

About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reported 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.


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