Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 29, 2020

Sick and dying at home: Navajos with coronavirus sent home to quarantine

Each day there are heart-breaking stories as Dine' elders are sent away from hospitals with COVID-19, sent home without medicine or health care, and many have no running water. Some Dine' in quarantine, sick with pneumonia, have no way to get food or water. Others die in the nursing homes in Farmington and Gallup, New Mexico. Senicide, or geronticide, is the killing of the elderly, or their abandonment to death. 

Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat
News updates on Facebook

Navajos with coronavirus and pneumonia are sent home from the hospitals with little medicine or information about the virus, and no one ever checks on them. At home in quarantine, sick with the coronavirus, Navajos shared their stories with Censored News.

After testing positive for coronavirus, and being sent home from hospitals, there are no health care follow-ups. There are no tribal officials bringing them food and water.

The Dine' families that we talked to in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, have received supplies only from the handful of grassroots, unpaid volunteers who are raising their own funds and collecting donated supplies, and driving down those long dirt roads to their homes with food, water, cleaning supplies and masks.

"This is true," said one Navajo in Crownpoint, New Mexico.

After repeatedly being denied a coronavirus test, the person was only tested after they began having trouble breathing.

After testing positive and being sent home with coronavirus and pneumonia, the person was then denied relief assistance at the tribal chapter house.

Like the other Navajos we talked to,  there was no follow up health care at home.

In Pinon, Arizona, a Navajo family with elderly and disabled with the virus, never received any food or water from the tribe. The only relief came from the grassroots Navajo Hopi COVID-19 Relief, who brought food and water to their home.

When a Navajo family with the virus in Monument Valley, Utah, needed food and water, it was the Navajo Hopi COVID-19 Relief who brought it to them.

Navajo Carl Begay made the long drive from Flagstaff, Arizona, to bring them masks and cleaning supplies.

Now, today the total number of coronavirus cases is over 5,000 on the Navajo Nation.

On Saturday, the Navajo Nation reported 105 new cases of COVID-19, and 10 more deaths in the past 24 hours. The total number of deaths has reached 241 as of Saturday. Approximately 1,814 individuals have recovered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases for the Navajo Nation has reached 5,250 as of May 30.

After midnight I watch the Flight Radar, and see the grim reminder.

Medical evacuation helicopters are en route from Farmington to Albuquerque, while others are  flying out of Safford, and still others are flying toward Gila River, Flagstaff and beyond.

On  most of the recent nights, there were at least five ambulance helicopters in flight at any one moment, after midnight, over Arizona and northwest New Mexico.

This is Indian country and the home to non-Indians as well.

While the grassroots efforts are wonderful, a handful of volunteers can not reach 300,000 Navajos on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajo Nation government received $600 million in federal funds on May 6, for coronavirus relief. The funds have not yet been allocated by the tribal government and remain in a bank account.

Meanwhile, Navajos are suffering at home, sick, in quarantine, and in need of food and water.

Some are dying.

copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News

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