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Curve flattening; Nez extends admin leave for tribal workers

WINDOW ROCK

As of Tuesday, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation is 1,206, which includes 569 men and 637 women with an average age of 48. The average age among deaths is 65. 

The number is an increase of 68 over Monday.

Border town case numbers are no longer part of the report, causing an apparent decrease in numbers from Monday, according to the president’s office.

During today’s town hall the Navajo Department of Health reported that the curve for COVID-19 looks to have flattened a bit, which is good news, but it also means continuing to abide by the health orders is a must in order to keep the numbers from increasing. The projected peak in cases is projected to happen in early to mid-May.

“Based on the data and the information and what you are all doing at home,” said President Jonathan Nez, “it’s working. There does appear to be a flattening of the Navajo Nation epi curve.”

But even with the flattening it was emphasized that orders such as stay-at-home, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, wearing masks in public, only one person per household getting essentials, social distancing — these are all still in effect and should continue to be practiced stringently. In addition, Nez extended paid administrative leave for all non-essential executive branch employees until May 17.

“Hold people accountable,” said Nez, who said starting Wednesday he and Vice President Myron Lizer would be out of their 14-day quarantine. “Government can’t do everything.”

When it comes to donations given to the Navajo Nation for COVID-19 relief,  Nez noted that there is only one official donation website. He said there are other donation sites but he warned the tribe could not vouch for their legitimacy and some of them may be scams.

“The Navajo Nation is seeking monetary and non-monetary assistance,” said Attorney General Doreen McPaul. “We are also facilitating getting volunteer health professionals to assist in our medical facilities.”

Pearl Yellowman, director of the Division of Community Development, explained how distribution works. There are 11 staging posts and eight of them are located in Thoreau, Chinle, Standing Rock, White Cone, Fort Defiance, Sheep Springs, Kayenta and Tuba City. There are also three satellite areas: Tohajillee, Ramah and Alamo.

“The purpose of these chapter branches is to coordinate floor distribution and essential services,” said Yellowman. “These are areas that receive and seek donations such as food, hay, water, cola, firewood to distribute to high-needs who are elders, … families that have high symptoms and single parents.”

The Nation is asking an seeking for donations for the Navajo Nation. Since chapters are more privy to what the community needs, chapters have taken it upon themselves to look for water, food and other resources.

“We are asking they work with the chapter branch and staging post,” said Yellowman. “It’s important for your safety. If donations and distributions aren’t routed with the health command center you could put individuals at risk.”

To donate: nndoh.org/donate


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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