FARMINGTON – With the number of positive COVID-19 cases reaching 29, the Navajo Nation re-issued a stay-at-home order and urged all non-essential businesses to close Monday, according to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez’s office.
Three new positive cases were reported on the Navajo Nation on Monday, Nez’s office said. The first case was reported March 17.
“To prevent a massive public health crisis, every person must remain home. The fact is that the number of positive tests is growing,” Nez said in a statement Monday posted to Facebook. “We know some may need food, medicine or other essential items, but beyond that, we shouldn’t have anyone traveling or going out into the public, this includes public gatherings and meetings.”
The cases are from New Mexico’s McKinley County and Navajo and Apache counties in Arizona.
First responders on Navajo Nation are delivering care packages to residents of Chilchinbeto, including coal, firewood, water and other essentials. The priority is the elderly and high-risk, the news release said.
“Everyone needs to stay home to protect our communities from further spread of COVID-19,” Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said in Monday’s release.
The announcement also said the Navajo Police Department would run community checkpoints to inform people of the stay-at-home order and discourage unnecessary traveling.
On Monday evening, the Navajo Nation received its first shipment of supplies from Arizona’s allocation from the Strategic National Stockpile, Nez’s office said. Included were face shields, blankets, gloves, surgical gowns, medical supplies and equipment for health care workers and first responders.
During a report to the Tribal Council on Friday, Roselyn Tso, Navajo Area Indian Health Service director, warned of a medical supply shortage, saying they had less than 30 days’ worth of supplies, depending on the number of positive cases in the IHS facilities.
In anticipation of a rise in cases, Nez and Lizer signed a resolution approving a $4 million appropriation to the Navajo Department of Health on Friday. Nez said the funds would go toward assisting the first responders, health care experts and emergency officials while the Nation continues to seek funding from federal and state agencies.
“The federal government is not expediting the release of funds that have already been approved by Congress, so our Navajo government is stepping up to help the people most in need of resources and assistance,” Nez said in a statement Friday. He also reiterated the importance of staying home, self-isolating and avoiding person-to-person contact.
The Navajo Nation Council’s approval – 22 in favor and zero opposed – on Friday of the $4 million appropriation came after it voted down similar legislation requesting $3 million five days earlier.