Posted by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer on Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer: Distribution at Ganado Chapter - June 2, 2020

COVID-19 in Arizona: Navajo Nation sees a spike in cases

Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Despite promising trends last week, the Navajo Department of Health reported a spike in COVID-19 cases Monday, with 98 new cases and five additional deaths.

As of Sunday, the total number of deaths on the Navajo Nation reservation was 246. Officials said 5,348 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, and they estimated 1,840 people have recovered.

“During this difficult time, we ask our citizens to practice preventive measures to minimize COVID-19 exposure,” Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said in a statement. In addition to urging tribal members to disinfect items that come into their homes, wear masks and use hand sanitizer, Lizer said, “Remember to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others and allow elders and others at high risk of severe illness to move up in shopping lines to lessen their exposure of COVID-19.”

Navajo leaders urged tribal members to stay diligent because Operation First of the Month, a program in partnership with Basha’s food stores that allows elderly Navajo to shop safely when their monthly benefit checks arrive, is in effect.

Last week, Navajo leaders had expressed concern of a potential spike in COVID-19 cases after the reopening of cities bordering the reservation, which covers parts of three states, Cronkite News reported. Before May 31, the Navajo Nation’s infection curve had been flattening.

As of June 1, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 20,123 total cases of COVID-19 and 917 deaths in the state. It said 321,926 tests for COVID-19 have been completed as of June 1 in public and private labs in Arizona, and 5.6% of tests have come back positive for the virus.

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Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News and is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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