Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 19, 2020

Navajo coronavirus cases increase to 1,197, one survivor shares his story


Dine' recovering from coronavirus shares his experience

70 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 4,075 negative results reported

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 1,197 for the Navajo Nation as of Saturday – an increase of 70 positive cases since Friday, according to the Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Service, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center. The report also includes 4,075 total negative test results as of Saturday. There remains a total of 44 confirmed deaths, with an average age of 66-years-old, related to COVID-19 as reported on Friday.


Over the next several weeks, the Nez-Lizer Administration will feature short videos from members of the Navajo Nation, who have recovered and overcome COVID-19 in inspire hope in our Navajo People. President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer understand that there are many people who may be afraid and perhaps losing hope. Our leaders want everyone to know that there are many people recovering and beating COVID-19 and they want those stories to heard as well.

If you or someone you know has tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered, and would be willing to share a short video to be featured on our social media outlets, please send an email to and provide your name, contact info, and a brief description of your experience. We would greatly appreciate you sharing your story to inspire hope in others!

Our first video is from Lewis Joe, originally from Shonto, Arizona, and a current resident of the community of Kayenta. He tested positive for COVID-19 and has since recovered. Please watch the video to hear his story and words of encouragement. Ahe'hee'
"I can't even describe how painful it was," said Lewis Joe, who has been symptom-free for eight days now. "It happened fast," said Joe, from Shonto, who lives in Kayenta now. "It was the worst four days of my life," he said. Joe said the pain of getting bucked off a horse and run over by cattle was nothing compared to the pain of coronavirus. "Pain killers won't do anything. I would sometimes lay in a fetal position and squeeze my body together, and there would be a little relief." "You don't want to go through this," he said, urging others to wash their hands, wear a face mask and keep a social distance from one another. "No one should be going through this." Joe describes four days of horrible pain before he recovered from the coronavirus, urging everyone to think of the elders and children. "I'm scared to go out in public now," said  Joe, as he thanked the doctors, nurses, and everyone on the frontline. "You are the best."

From the Navajo President's Office:

The 1,197 confirmed positive cases include the following counties: Navajo County, AZ: 321; Apache County, AZ: 187; Coconino County, AZ: 206; McKinley County, NM: 261; San Juan County, NM: 168; Cibola County, NM: 14; San Juan County, UT: 14; Socorro County, NM: 13; Sandoval County, NM: 13

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

"We are very appreciative to all of our Navajo Police Officers who are working hard to protect all of us. Let’s help them by staying home and complying with the weekend curfew. Let’s stay home and bring the numbers down and to protect and save the lives of our relatives, friends, and neighbors. Please abide by the orders and continue to pray for our people,” 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.

“We will eventually begin to flatten the curve, but the time is not now to let up on staying home. Please continue to be diligent and to care for your loved ones, especially children and elders. We are working hard to ensure we get more resources and equipment. In the next few weeks, we expect to see increased numbers as we approach the peak of the pandemic. Our prayers are with all of our first responders and all communities,” 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.

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