Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 25, 2022

Navajo Nation confirms Monkeypox case in McKinley County, New Mexico

McKinley County, New Mexico

Navajo Nation confirms Monkeypox case in McKinley County, New Mexico

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Nation said the first case of Monkeypox was confirmed. A Navajo living in McKinley County, New Mexico, contracted Monkeypox.

COVID-19 has also continued to spread with deaths.

San Juan County in New Mexico, reports five people have died of COVID-19 in the past two weeks. The country includes Shiprock on the Navajo Nation and the bordertown of Farmington. Since the spread of the virus began, 819 people have died of the virus in the county.

McKinley County, to the south of San Juan County, continues to have one of the highest rates of COVID spread in New Mexico. In McKinley County, which includes part of the Navajo Nation and the bordertown of Gallup, there were 286 cases of COVID in the past week, which ended on Sunday.

Today,  New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tested positive for COVID. Grisham said she has a mild case, is fully vaccinated, and is working from home.

The CDC reports a high spread of COVID in Apache County, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, which includes the Navajo Capital of Window Rock. The mask mandate indoors has been reinstated. The Navajo Nation said 56 communities have an uncontrolled spread of COVID.

On Pine Ridge, the rate of community remains high and the mask mandate was reinstated by the Oglala Lakota Nation.

Nationwide, the Indian Health Service reports today the rapid spread of COVID in the Bemidji, Minnesota IHS service region, and the Nashville, Tennessee region, which covers the Southeastern part of the United States.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez confirmed the case of Monkeypox on Wednesday.

“We continue to take a proactive approach to mitigate Monkeypox here on the Navajo Nation, through the establishment of the Monkeypox Preparedness Team that includes our health care experts and by engaging with federal health officials and the White House."

"Through these efforts, we’ve been able to secure doses of the Monkeypox vaccines and they will be available to the Navajo people soon."

President Nez will hold an online town hall on Thursday, Aug. 25th at 10:00 a.m. MDT on the Nez-Lizer Facebook page to provide more information.

A person with Monkeypox may take five to 21 days to develop symptoms after exposure and may include fever, malaise or a general feeling of illness, headache, sometimes a sore throat and cough, and lymphadenopathy or enlarged/swollen lymph glands/nodes. Individuals often experience rashes on the face, inside the mouth, and other parts of the body including the genitals in the later stages – this is also when a person is most contagious, the Navajo Nation said.

Monkeypox is spread through skin-to-skin contact with infectious rashes, scabs, or bodily fluids, through contact with respiratory secretions, or by touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with Monkeypox. It also spread through sexual activity/intercourse, hugging, massaging, kissing, or prolonged face-to-face contact.

The Health Advisory Notice states that if you are sick with Monkeypox, to isolate at home, stay away from other people and pets, and to contact your health care provider for testing, care, and treatment. Vaccinations are recommended for people with close personal contact with someone with Monkeypox. Contact your primary care physician for further vaccine recommendations.

For more information regarding Monkeypox contact your local health provider and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage and Navajo Department of Health webpage

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