WINDOW ROCK, Ariz (ABC4)- On Saturday, the Navajo Department of Health (NDH) released their figures for COVID-19 infections, deaths, and recoveries for the Navajo Nation.
The latest report said there were 61 new COVID-19 cases and no recent deaths. The number of deaths remains at 1,471. The report also said that 33,897 people recovered from COVID-19 and that 354,430 tests have been administered within the Navajo community.
That is a drop from Friday’s report, which was not released due to technical issues with the NDH’s reporting system. That report said there were 69 new cases, including 14 cases that were delayed in reporting. There were also no new deaths reported. However, the total number of new cases is now at 36,083. That figure also includes 279 delayed cases that go back all the way to September.
Individual states’ reporting on COVID-19 cases varies. Arizona reported 3,145 new cases. However, Utah and New Mexico will not report figures until Monday.
In 2020, the pandemic’s impact on the Native American economy was devastating, according to Professor of International Political Economy Emeritus at Harvard Kennedy School, Joseph Kalt.
He said tribes’ tax base was cut in states, especially those where they depend on revenue from casinos they own. State governments, on the contrary, were better off economically in spite of the pandemic.
“While state and local governments are also in trouble, at least they have a tax base, but tribes are really struggling because their tax base has been wiped out,” Kalt said.
Earlier this month, the Navajo Nation announced where they were allocating $389 million out of over $2 billion they received from the American Rescue Plan Act which was passed in March. The language of the bill said it provides, “additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.”
Much of that would go toward rebuilding their electricity and septic systems as well as other utilities. Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said at the time the tribe had never received that amount of funding at once from the federal government.
But even with a surge in funding to help rebuild their infrastructure, the Navajo Nation continues to experience rising cases of COVID-19. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez keeps advising people on how to get through the pandemic by taking simple measures to secure their health, including getting vaccinated.
“If you decide to travel, please take precautions and wear a mask in public,” Nez said, “We have to do more to keep ourselves safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, we are still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, so please keep your guard up and get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”
Vice President Lizer encouraged unity through community members supporting each other and healthcare workers equally.
“We are overcoming the pandemic one day at a time,” he said, “But we have to remain diligent. Please be safe and keep praying for our people and frontline workers.”
Health care facilities across the Navajo Nation continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Residents who would like to get vaccinated should schedule an appointment with their health care provider.
For more information on prevention tips and other COVID-19 resources, visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website here. For COVID-19 related questions and information, call (928) 871-7014.