Navajo coronavirus cases increase to 92, with two confirmed deaths, as the virus spreads
By Brenda Norrell
The coronavirus claimed two lives and infected 92 Dine', an increase of 21 people in just 24 hours, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said late Friday.
The Navajo Times reports the spread of the coronavirus followed a gathering of the Nazarene Church in Chilchinbeto. Those attending and their families became ill in Cameron, LeChee and nearby chapters.
One family told the Navajo Times how the father was turned away at a local hospital repeatedly after becoming sick with a high fever after the rally.
A second church rally at Pine Hill near Gallup infected more Dine', and the pastor's family was hospitalized, sources said.
Nationwide, at least two other Native Americans have died from the virus in Oklahoma and Washington State.
The Indian Health Service reported 10 cases in both California and Portland IHS agencies. IHS statistics show only about one-half of Native Americans tested had received results of the tests.
The Rosebud Sioux in South Dakota established a curfew, restrictions on visitors and businesses and prohibited unaccompanied minors, in an effort to control the spread of the virus after the first case was reported there.
Already with a stay-at-home order in place, the Navajo Nation cases continued to rise this week.
Navajo President Nez said, “Our condolences and prayers go out to the families of the two individuals who have passed on. We also pray for all of those who are fighting to recover from the virus. We cannot thank our health care workers and first responders enough for everything they are doing to help our people."
“To our Navajo people, let’s help our healthcare workers by staying home and isolating ourselves as much as possible. Our public safety officers are needed in our communities every day, and we don’t want to have to take them away from those duties to force people to stay home – we don’t have to go to that extent if people simply listen to the health care experts."
Navajo area doctors pleaded for face masks at Tuba City Medical Center and elsewhere in Indian country. As the coronavirus spread through Indian country this week, Native American doctors urged people to stay at home and sought out those who could help provide face masks.
Currently, the Navajo cases are in Navajo County, Ariz., 49; Apache County, Ariz., 18; Coconino County, Ariz., 6; McKinley County, N.M., 5; San Juan County, N.M., 11; Cibola County, N. M., 1; San Juan County, Utah, 2.