Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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High test rates continue to yield high COVID case numbers

CHINLE

Increased testing on the Navajo Nation continued to lead to a high number of newly discovered COVID-19 cases Saturday, although slightly lower than Friday’s high of 180.

Ninety-seven new cases were confirmed by the Navajo Nation President’s office Saturday evening for a total of 1,637, with one more death, bring the death toll to 59 for the Navajo Nation and Navajos living in border towns.

“We expected to see higher numbers because more people are being tested. Having more people being tested is a good thing, and it helps to identify people who need to isolate themselves,” Nez said in a press release.

Some 9,660 tests have been performed on the Nation, about six percent of the population living on the reservation. By comparison, the U.S. as a whole has tested about two percent of its population.

Lately the strategy has been to begin mass testing of the general public for a day or two in certain locations, Nez revealed. In Monument Valley recently, 1,500 tests were performed. The Navajo Nation Police, who are susceptible because of their close contact with the public, have also upped their testing of officers and employees after 17 employees came down with the virus in an already understaffed department struggling to enforce Nationwide curfews.

Some locations, including Ramah Navajo and Sandoval County, New Mexico, had no new cases Saturday and officials are hopeful that the virus might have reached its peak in those areas.

The reservation’s hot spots continue to be Navajo, Coconino and Apache counties in Arizona and McKinley County in New Mexico.

Nez cautioned Navajos to continue to abide by the curfews and not immediately flock to the stores on Monday morning after the weekend curfew has ended.

For a graphic overview of the numbers by area, visit https://navajotimes.com/coronavirus-updates/covid-19-across-the-navajo-nation/

About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.

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