Log In


Reset Password
News Local News Nation & World New Mexico Education

Navajo Nation extends closures, curfews into May

Officials say cases expected to peak by next month
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez met with representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Indian Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Arizona National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday to discuss the response to COVID-19.

FARMINGTON – The Navajo Nation reauthorized an executive order this week to keep the tribal government closed and reduce services until May 17, President Jonathan Nez said.

Although the executive branch was scheduled to be reopened after April 26, Nez said it was necessary to extend the closure to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus. Government offices will remain closed but essential personnel and essential government functions will continue, according to the order.

“As I’ve discussed this once again with health care professionals and our first responders, since we’re looking at the peak in early May to mid-May, I’m hoping that we can keep that bell-shape curve ... down,” Nez said during a virtual town hall meeting earlier in the week.

The order also says Navajo citizens are still required to limit their movement to essential activities while following the ongoing daily curfew by staying at home from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and the additional weekend curfew.

“We’re not letting our guard down – now is not the time. We’re seeing a slight flattening of the curve, but we have to remain vigilant,” Nez said in news release.

Last weekend was the second 57-hour curfew for the Navajo Nation. During that time, the Navajo Police Department issued 108 curfew violation citations and 71 traffic violations, according to data from six of the seven police districts.

The department coordinated four roadblocks and increased patrols in the western and eastern areas of the Navajo Nation, and it coordinated public service announcement checkpoints throughout communities, a news release said.

“Our officers were out there doing their job and issuing these citations,” Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco said in a news release Monday. “Although there was an increase in traffic from the previous weekend, this could be partially due to families getting stimulus checks and in need of supplies.”

On Wednesday, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Indian Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Arizona National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers visited Navajo Nation, according to Nez’s office. FEMA also set up a mobile unit to support the Navajo Nation in recovery efforts from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area Indian Health Service and Navajo Epidemiology Center provided data for the number of individuals who had tested positive on the reservation and in border towns. The data showed 1,321 confirmed cases.

The following day, agencies released the new numbers but did not include the cases from border towns as was previously being reported by the Navajo Epidemiology Center. As of Tuesday, the Navajo Nation reported 63 new cases and a total of 48 deaths, bringing the total number of positive COVID-19 cases to 1,206, excluding the border town cases.

According to the agencies’ data, the cases involved 637 women and 569 men, with an average age of 48. The average age among those who died was 65.

“There is still a lot that we don’t know about COVID-19, and we don’t want a second wave to hit our communities,” Nez said Tuesday. “In some states, people are beginning to protest stay-at-home orders, but it is far too early to begin considering fully reopening commerce, government and establishments. We need more testing, more prevention efforts and more resources to continue fighting the virus.”

As of Wednesday, New Mexico Department of Health reported 2,210 positive cases of COVID-19 out of 41,232 completed tests, with 71 COVID-related deaths. San Juan County reported 339 cases out of 2,216 completed tests and 22 deaths.

The breakdown Tuesday of the 1,206 confirmed positive cases by Navajo Nation county:

Navajo County, Ariz.: 328.Apache County, Ariz.: 240.Coconino County, Ariz.: 214.McKinley County, N.M.: 244.San Juan County, N.M.: 121.Cibola County, N.M.: 14.San Juan County, Utah: 15.Socorro County, N.M.: 17.Sandoval County, N.M.: 13.

lweber@durangoherald.com

Navajo County, Ariz.: 328.Apache County, Ariz.: 240.Coconino County, Ariz.: 214.McKinley County, N.M.: 244.San Juan County, N.M.: 121.Cibola County, N.M.: 14.San Juan County, Utah: 15.Socorro County, N.M.: 17.Sandoval County, N.M.: 13.

Reader Comments