Navajo Nation President: Current Pandemic Situation Much Worse Than Spring Surge

Dec 4, 2020, 5:11 PM
File photo (KSL TV)...
File photo (KSL TV)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo medical officials called the current pandemic situation a major health crisis Thursday as the president and vice president extended a stay-at-home lockdown order and weekend lockdowns nearly to the new year.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer hosted a virtual forum Thursday with more than 600 doctors and Navajo residents in which medical experts pleaded with the public to stay home to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Loretta Christensen, chief medical officer for Navajo Area Indian Health Services, said what was a major health care crisis has now put the Navajo Nation “truly in a crisis mode.”

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez explained the dire COVID-19 predictions during a virtual forum. (YouTube)

“Navajo people, we are in a very worse state in this pandemic right now,” Nez said. “There’s a projection, and we pray that this projection doesn’t become a reality, but this projection says that this virus will be worse four to five times more than what we faced in May.”

The Navajo Nation had the worst spread of the disease in the nation during the early summer but was able to bring the number of new cases down to a manageable level until the current spike started in late September, according to the tribal COVID-19 dashboard.

“Hospital resources are at capacity or even overcapacity,” he described. “High flow oxygen machines needed to keep patients breathing with oxygen therapy are running dangerously short. Regional hospitals, also at capacity, are no longer taking Navajo patients.”

The Navajo Nation reported a total of 17,310 positive cases Thursday with 663 people who have died because of the virus.

Nez and Lizer extended stay-at-home and 57-hour long weekend lockdowns through Dec. 28, the release said.

The order includes the following:

  • Extends the Stay-At-Home Lockdown which requires all residents to remain at home 24-hours, seven days a week, with the exceptions of essential workers that must report to work, emergency situations, to obtain essential food, medication, and supplies, tend to livestock, outdoor exercising within the immediate vicinity of your home, wood gathering and hauling with a permit.
  • Re-implements full 57-hour weekend lockdowns for three additional weekends that include: 8 p.m. MST through 5 a.m. MST on December 11, 2020, through Dec. 14, and for the same hours on Dec. 18, through Dec. 21, and Dec. 25, through Dec. 28.
  • Essential businesses including gas stations, grocery stores, laundromats, restaurants and food establishments that provide drive-thru and curbside services, and hay vendors can operate from 7 a.m. (MST) to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday only.
  • Refrain from gathering with individuals from outside your immediate household and requiring all residents to wear a mask in public, avoid public gatherings, maintain social (physical) distancing, remain in your vehicle for curb-side and drive-through services.

They also signed an order to limit services and require the Navajo government and enterprises to remain closed through Sunday, Dec. 27.

The leaders appealed for federal help in a letter sent to President Donald Trump and FEMA requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for the Navajo Nation.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Navajo Nation

File photo (KSL TV)...
Cary Schwanitz

Navajo Nation transitions to ‘yellow’ COVID-19 status, mask mandates still in place

The Navajo Department of Health moved the Navajo Nation into the “yellow” pandemic status because of consistent low COVID-19 case numbers.
10 months ago
File photo (KSL TV)...
The Associated Press

Navajo officials distribute masks and sanitizers in Shiprock

Navajo Nation officials have distributed masks and hand sanitizers in the community of Shiprock, New Mexico to help keep local residents safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 year ago
File photo (KSL TV)...
The Associated Press

Navajo increases ability to do COVID testing, vaccinations

Health facilities on the Navajo Nation are increasing the ability to test for COVID-19 and vaccinate people as the omicron variant spreads.
1 year ago
File photo (KSL TV)...
Associated Press

Navajo Nation: All government workers must have booster shot

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has signed an executive order requiring all government workers on the tribe’s vast reservation to have a booster shot.
1 year ago
File photo (KSL TV)...
The Associated Press

Navajo Nation reports 220 new COVID-19 cases, but no deaths

The Navajo Nation has reported 220 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths related to the virus.
1 year ago
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez receives a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on December 31,...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

Navajo Nation reports 220 new COVID-19 cases, no deaths

The Navajo Nation reported 220 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday and zero deaths related to the virus.
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Navajo Nation President: Current Pandemic Situation Much Worse Than Spring Surge