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First Diné tests positive for coronavirus

WINDOW ROCK

It has been confirmed that a 46-year-old Navajo man has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Navajo Department of Health informed President Jonathan Nez of the confirmed case. The unidentified man has a travel history. He is the first member of the Navajo Nation to be confirmed with the virus.

The Arizona Department of Health confirmed the positive test result from the individual from Chilchinbeto, Arizona, who first reported his symptoms to the Kayenta Health Center in Kayenta.

The individual was taken to a hospital in Phoenix where the test was conducted by the state’s Department of Health. Health and emergency officials are taking the proper precautions to screen and isolate the person’s family members, according to a news release.

“We have health and emergency experts who have been planning and preparing for this situation for several weeks,” said Nez. “We call upon our Navajo people to do their best to remain calm and make good decisions by staying home to prevent the spread of the virus among our communities.”

Navajo County officials stated they are investigating the case and are looking for anyone who had been in close or direct contact with the individual and may have been exposed to the person while he was infected.

Anyone who has been identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly by public health officials, and they will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

“We encourage the public to stay calm, stay up-to-date with recommendations, and do their best to help slow the spread,” said Jeffery Lee, with the Navajo County Public Health Department.

Nez, along with the Navajo Nation Preparedness COVID-19 team, had been working at preventing for as long as possible the virus from entering the Navajo Nation.

Yesterday the Navajo Nation Council did not pass legislation that would’ve allocated $3 million to the Department of Emergency Management. Delegates were not satisfied with monies not being directly distributed to the 110 chapters.

Nez said he hopes Council will reconsider this vote and reconvene once more to pass the bill.

Navajo Agricultural Products Industry is contributing $1 million to help the Navajo Nation prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Nez will provide more information live at 5 p.m. (DST) on Wednesday on KTNN AM 660 and 101.5 FM.


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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