Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 17, 2020

Coronavirus on Navajo Nation: 174 cases in 24 hours, now 140 deaths, May 17, 2020

Photos Navajo President's Office food delivery this week. Photos by Navajo President's Office.

172 new cases of COVID-19, 13 more deaths, and 544 recoveries reported as Navajo Nation continues to test aggressively

By Navajo President Jonathan Nez
Censored News

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Department of Health in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service reported 172 new cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation. The total number of deaths has reached 140 as of Saturday. Preliminary reports from a few health care facilities indicate that approximately 544 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, with more reports still pending.

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 3,912. A total of 23,791 COVID-19 tests have been administered with 17,409 negative results. In March, health care experts projected that the Navajo Nation would see its peak in new cases in mid-May.

“We are seeing a spike in new cases and this is largely due to the aggressive testing that is taking place across the Navajo Nation. A series of large scale testing events is helping to identify those who are COVID-19 positive and that’s a good thing. We also have 544 people that have recovered from the virus and that number will grow as we receive more reports. We are testing our people here on the Navajo Nation almost fives times greater than the rest of the country. So let’s not panic or be overly-alarmed by the daily numbers, but let’s be diligent and recognize that we cannot let up now. Please abide by the weekend lockdown and the stay-at-home order that remains in effect seven days a week. We are beating COVID-19 together,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The Navajo Nation’s 57-hour weekend lockdown remains in effect until Monday, which includes the closure of all businesses to deter traveling and to keep people home and safe from the COVID-19 virus. The order states that residents can leave their homesites only in cases of safety, health, or medical emergencies. The Health Operations Command Center urges anyone who feels they might have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to immediately contact their medical provider.

“With every passing day, we are a day closer to beating COVID-19. Whether we realize it or not we are winning the war on this virus, but we have to stay the course when it comes to staying home as much as possible, wearing masks in public, washing our hands often, and taking every precaution to ensure our health and safety especially for our elders and children. Please continue to pray for our Nation, first responders, health care workers, essential employees, and many others,” said Vice President Myron 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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