WINDOW ROCK, Ariz (ABC4)- The Navajo Department of Health reported on Friday 77 new cases and no new deaths related to COVID-19.
The current death toll is at 1,471 deaths and 33,579 individuals have recovered from COVID-19 so far, according to the report. The overall total number of positive cases is now 35,660, including three delayed reported cases.
On Thursday, the state of Arizona reported 2,495 new cases, Utah reported 2,340 cases and New Mexico reported 1,132 new cases. Arizona did not report COVID-19 figures last week due to a system update. Case counts for Utah and New Mexico were also delayed for unspecified reasons.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez continued to impress upon people the importance of wearing masks and the potential for infection, especially with the holiday season coming up.
“Not wearing a mask and family gatherings are still major concerns and a factor in the number of new cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation,” he says. “With the holidays approaching and the winter season coming, the leaders and public health experts are very concerned about how that might affect the spread of the virus.”
With the flu season coming up, Nez said it is equally important to take preventive measures to avoid exposure.
“We have to be disciplined to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy,” Nez said, “Please be safe and continue to pray for our people.”
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer urged people to not give up and “keep fighting.”
“That’s the only way we will overcome COVID-19,” Lizer said, “We have the power and the ability to rid this virus from our communities.”
The Indian Health Service, a federal health program for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has “disproportionately affected American Indian and Alaska Native populations across the country.”
An August 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control said Native Americans and Alaska Natives had infection rates that were 3.5 times higher than whites. Another report released December 2020 said that among 14 states that participated in the study, the overall COVID-19 mortality rate among Native Americans and Alaska Natives was higher than among white persons. Despite that, Vice President Lizer said not to lose hope.
“It will take a tremendous cooperative effort by all of us as citizens of the Navajo Nation,” Lizer said.
The Navajo Department of Health issued Public Health Emergency Order No. 2021-020, which allows holiday gatherings of 15 or fewer people. It is consistent with Navajo Health Command Operations Center’s guidelines. The new order also allows movie theaters to operate at 50- percent occupancy. The order is available online: https://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19
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.