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Nation sees lowest COVID case increase since March


With the lowest increase of COVID-19 cases the Navajo Nation has seen in a while (22), the total number of those who have or had the virus is at 6,633 as of Monday night.

The recoveries are at 3,207 and there are 311 reported deaths — no new deaths since Saturday. Some 44,589 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation, more than a quarter of the population. According to Navajo Area Indian Health Service Director Roselyn Tso, tests are counted by individuals served and not how many tests they’ve received (some frontline workers have been tested multiple times).

The cases by Navajo Nation service units: Chinle Service Unit: 1,728; Crownpoint Service Unit: 614; Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 418; Gallup Service Unit: 1,118; Kayenta Service Unit: 961; Shiprock Service Unit: 1,096; Tuba City Service Unit: 543; Winslow Service Unit: 147; and eight residences not specified.

In an update report to the Health, Education and Human Services Committee during its June 10 meeting Tso said Navajo Area IHS has received $182 million for its response to the pandemic.

“All these funds been distributed between Navajo IHS, 638 programs, urban programs,” said Tso. “These funds are all COVID-19 for testing, response, CARES Act, CARES purchase, referred care, CARES maintenance and improvement, CARES testing and COVID reimbursement, prefab facilities for Gallup Indian Medical Center.”

Last month, national media reported that Zach Fuentes, President Donald Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, secured a $3 million federal contract to supply IHS facilities in Arizona and New Mexico with face masks.

It was reported that 247,000 of the masks delivered by Fuentes’ company — at a cost of roughly $800,000 — may be unsuitable for medical use. An additional 130,400, worth about $422,000, are not the type specified in the procurement data, the agency said.

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Health, Education and Human Service committee vice chair Carl Slater inquired about an update on this issue.

“None of those N-95 (masks) have been distributed,” said Tso. “They’re still in our warehouse. “

She said right now they’re working on the next steps they will take to address the situation further.

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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