Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 18, 2020

Navajo coronavirus cases increase to 1,127, with 44 deaths, as masks ordered in public, 57 hour weekend curfew

85 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths reported as the Navajo Nation’s 57-hour weekend curfew takes effect

By Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer
Censored News

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The total number of positive tests for COVID-19 has reached 1,127 for the Navajo Nation as of Friday – an increase of 85 positive cases since Thursday, according to the Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Service, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center. The report also includes 3,673 total negative test results as of Friday. There is now a total of 44 confirmed deaths related to COVID-19.

The 1,127 confirmed positive cases include the following counties: Navajo County, AZ: 316; Apache County, AZ: 168; Coconino County, AZ: 203; McKinley County, NM: 235; San Juan County, NM: 153; Cibola County, NM: 13; San Juan County, UT: 14; Socorro County, NM: 13; Sandoval County, NM: 12

The Navajo Nation’s 57-hour weekend curfew is set to take effect at 8:00 p.m. on Friday until Monday, April 20 at 5:00 a.m. (MDT). The Navajo Police Department will once again enforce the weekend curfew with road checkpoints. They will also issue citations for curfew violators, which may include up to $1,000 in fines and/or 30 days in jail.

"Everyone should have everything they need for the weekend, so we should not have anyone traveling this weekend except for essential workers and in cases of emergencies. I said this before, we are strong and resilient just like our ancestors. Our people have overcome so much, much worse than COVID-19 and we need to honor and remember all of the sacrifices that our ancestors made for us to be here today. Let’s not be careless, let’s not be selfish, but let’s rise up and beat this virus together,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

Last weekend, the Navajo Police Department issued approximately 119 citations for individuals who violated the curfew. Stricter provisions are now in place for businesses as well.

“There are plenty of household tasks, hobbies, and other productive things we can do at home. Let’s look at this in a positive light and spend time with our loved ones while using precautions and practicing social distancing as much as possible. To our Navajo people and all those on the frontline, you are in our prayers every day as we fight together. We will overcome this pandemic, but the sooner we come together and stay home as much as possible the sooner we will beat COVID-19,” said Vice President Lizer.

For more information including reports, helpful prevention tips, and more resources, please visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at To contact the main Navajo Health Command Operations Center, please call (928) 871-7014.

Navajo Nation issues Public Health Emergency Order requiring protective masks to be worn in public to help fight the spread of COVID-19

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Friday, the Navajo Department of Health issued Public Health Emergency Order 2020-007, requiring all individuals on the Navajo Nation to wear protective masks in public to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

During online town hall sessions this week, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez informed the public that the written order would be issued. He also encouraged all residents of the Navajo Nation to either purchase or make masks to comply with the order.

“Even before the Center for Disease Control and Prevention officially recommended using masks in public, we were encouraging our Navajo people to wear masks and gloves and now we’re putting it in writing. Some may not like it, but with the number of positive COVID-19 cases increasing, we have to be proactive in addressing the pandemic. We will continue to consider even more aggressive requirements to help bring the numbers down. Some individuals think we’re using scare tactics or extreme measures, but we are losing lives here on the Navajo Nation and I’m going to do everything I can to help save lives. We are on a mission to flatten the curve,” said President Nez.

The Public Health Emergency Order defines a mask as a covering designed to filter one’s breathing through both the nose and mouth. A mask must snugly cover the face around the nose and mouth to prevent the wearer from breathing unfiltered air. May be a commercially-made face mask, or a homemade cloth face covering.

“Since the pandemic began, we are seeing more and more people wearing masks and protective gloves in public and that’s a good sign that people are listening to the health care experts. We aren’t the health experts, but as leaders, we are using our voices to get the word out so that our people are aware of the precautionary measures they can take to protect themselves. Wearing a mask doesn’t guarantee that a person won’t contract COVID-19 – we continue to strongly recommend that everyone stay home as much as possible,” stated Vice President Myron Lizer.

The Navajo Nation’s 57-hour weekend curfew is currently in effect until Monday, April 20 at 5:00 a.m. (MDT). The Navajo Police Department is enforcing the weekend curfew with road checkpoints. They will also issue citations for curfew violators, which may include up to $1,000 in fines and/or 30 days in jail.

The requirement for wearing a mask in public will remain in effect until otherwise ended by a subsequent Public Health Emergency Order. For more information about protective masks, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:…/prevent…/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

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