Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Navajo Nation (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah)
Posted: November 14, 2020

The Navajo Nation

Office of the President and Vice President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2020

Navajo Nation to implement more public health measures on Monday as health experts recommend online learning and advise against reopening casinos

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – On Friday, the Navajo Nation finalized two public health emergency orders and one executive order that will go into effect on Monday, Nov. 16 for a three-week period. The new measures reinstate a stay-at-home lockdown order for the entire Nation, close Executive Branch government offices with the exception of essential employees, call for all schools on the Navajo Nation to close temporarily, and declares “red status” for all businesses requiring new safety measures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise rapidly.

On Friday, Navajo Nation reported 97 new cases of COVID-19 while the state of New Mexico reported 1,237 new cases, Arizona reported 3,015 new cases, and Utah reported 2,150. The United States reported a single-day record-high of over 150,000 new COVID-19 cases as well.

“With nearly 900 new cases of COVID-19 reported on the Navajo Nation in the last week and with surging cases across the country, we have to implement these public health measures to protect our Navajo people and reduce the spread of this virus. In addition, our epidemiologists recently identified 34 communities with uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. We are inching closer and closer to a major public health crisis in which we could potentially see our hospitals filling up with patients. Our health care system on the Navajo Nation cannot sustain a long-term surge in COVID-19 cases. The safest place to be is at home here on the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

Executive Order No. 010-20 requires government offices and enterprises to close beginning Nov. 16 thru Dec. 6, with the exception of essential employees as determined by division directors and enterprise management, to maintain essential services and functions of government. President Nez noted that all CARES Act projects and processes are required to proceed without disruption or setbacks to meet upcoming deadlines.

The order also requires public schools, including state public schools, grant schools, private schools, higher education institutions, early childhood programs including CCDF, Head Start, FACE programs, and all after school programs on the Navajo Nation to be online from Nov. 16 to Dec. 6, to protect students, teachers, parents, and others from COVID-19 risks. To view Executive Order No. 010-20, please visit: https://www.opvp.navajo-nsn.gov/From-the-Office/Executive-Orders.

Public Health Emergency Order No. 2020-30 implements a three-week stay-at-home lockdown order and restricts travel off of the Navajo Nation and in-person gatherings. Individuals may leave their place of residence only for emergencies or to perform essential activities such as obtaining food or groceries, obtaining medicine, gathering fire wood with appropriate permit, and others.

Only essential businesses will be allowed to operate during the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (MST) daily – weekdays and weekends. All essential businesses including gas stations, grocery stores, laundromats, and restaurants and food establishments are required to ensure employees and customers wear masks, practice social distancing, disinfect high-touch surfaces, access to hand wash stations, sanitizers and gloves, and limit the number of customers in any enclosed areas. Restaurants and food establishments must operate on a curbside or drive-thru basis only. All places of business and governmental offices are encouraged to report employee exposures to the Navajo Health Command Operations Center at: https://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/covid-19.

“In order to reduce cases, we have to isolate the virus. The more people move about and travel, the more cases of COVID-19 we will see. The data from our public health officials indicates that we are near the peak of new cases that we experienced in April and May. We brought down the number of cases before, and we can do it again with safe practices and prayer,” said Vice President Lizer.

“The daily increase of new COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation mirrors the United States upward trajectory and dangerously approaches our record-high cases in early May. The Navajo Healthcare System isn’t overwhelmed now, but further bed capacity with adequate medical staffing are a concern. Isolation and quarantine sites are available for the Navajo people, please seek these services to further reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Safe isolation is important especially if this can’t be done at home. We all have a role to play to protect ourselves and our relatives,” said Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim.

After several recent discussions with public health officials regarding the surge in COVID-19 cases, President Nez vetoed a resolution that requested support for the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s reopening plan for casinos at a minimum of 50-percent capacity. President Nez said he recognizes and understands the economic impacts and remains committed to finding additional alternative funds to support businesses and enterprises. In August, the Navajo Nation approved $24.6 million in CARES Act funds to avoid lay-offs of gaming employees.

“We cannot put a price tag on the health, safety, and lives of our Navajo people. Revenues do not outweigh the precious lives of our elders, children, and gaming employees. We recently learned that the enterprise did experience a positive case in their gaming facility, so how safe will our elders and visitors be when we cannot predict the spread of the coronavirus? To the gaming employees, board members, and their families, we ask for your patience and understanding due to the significant rise in COVID-19 cases and we are willing to find a way to provide additional support,” added President Nez.

Public Health Emergency Order 2020-029:

https://www.opvp.navajo-nsn.gov/Portals/0/FILES/Latest%20News/NDOH%20Public%20Health%20Emergency%20Order%202020-029%20Dikos%20Ntsaaigii-19.pdf

 

Public Health Emergency Order 2020-030:

https://www.opvp.navajo-nsn.gov/Portals/0/FILES/Latest%20News/NDOH%20Public%20Health%20Emergency%20Order%202020-030%20Dikos%20Ntsaaigii-19.pdf

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