CORONAVIRUS NAVAJO NATION

Navajo Nation Reissues Stay-at-Home Order, Weekend 57-Hour Lockdown

Sep 23, 2020, 1:51 PM | Updated: 2:09 pm
File photo (KSL TV)...
File photo (KSL TV)
(KSL TV)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Officials with the Navajo Nation said rising COVID-19 cases in and around the reservation, including in Southern Utah, have prompted leaders to reissue a strict stay-at-home order and put a longer weekend lockdown back into place.

The state at home order runs until Tuesday. It restricts people from leaving their home only for emergencies or essential activities that affect “health, safety, and welfare.”

The weekend lockdown will last 57 hours and go into place at 8 p.m. Friday. It will last until 5 a.m. Monday. All businesses will be closed during that time.  Officials could order more lockdowns, which it has done several times since the pandemic started.

The daily curfew will be in place overnight from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., and strictly prohibits gatherings of more than five people.

During the spring months, the Navajo Nation had the highest rate of new cases in the country. Leaders put the stay-at-home order into place along with the 57-hour weekend lockdowns and the daily curfew to control the spread.

It worked and the number of new cases dropped dramatically. As has happened in so many other parts of the country, the reservation eased many of its restrictions only to see case counts start to rise once again resulting in the reissued orders this week.

“For the safety and health of all of our Navajo people, we must adhere to the advice and recommendations of our health care experts,” said Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez. “Their expertise is what led to the decrease in the new cases over the last few months. It only takes a few new cases to create multiple clusters of positive COVID-19 cases.”

Nez added, “The latest reports of cluster cases result from individuals who traveled to cities off of the Navajo Nation, returned home with the virus, and spread it to others during family gatherings, despite active public health orders that clearly restrict any in-person gatherings. While these new cases are being investigated, our public health experts and contact tracers have begun to mobilize resources to help identify those who may have been exposed to the virus, to isolate positive cases, and provide food and other essential items to those who are now in isolation.”

A news release said surrounding counties and states, “such as Coconino County and the state of Utah have reported increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases recently, which also increases risks for residents of the Navajo Nation, particularly when residents travel to other ‘hot spot’ areas.”

The Navajo Nation is in the Four Corners area and includes San Juan County in southeastern Utah.

“The increases in new cases is very alarming. We do not yet know the full extent of exposures and infections due to the recent cluster cases, but everyone can do their part to protect themselves and their families,” said Vice President Myron Lizer. “Unfortunately, we will see substantial increases in new COVID-19 cases.”

Utah has information on how the state is responding to the pandemic at coronavirus.utah.gov.

The Navajo Nation also has an online resource guide at http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19.

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Navajo Nation Reissues Stay-at-Home Order, Weekend 57-Hour Lockdown