CORONAVIRUS NAVAJO NATION

Navajo Nation Requests More Pandemic Help From Biden Administration

Feb 1, 2021, 4:18 PM | Updated: 6:22 pm
File photo (KSL TV)...
File photo (KSL TV)
(KSL TV)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer requested more help from the Biden Administration in the reservation’s fight against COVID-19.

The Navajo leaders made the request Sunday during a teleconference with representatives from the White House, Federal Emergency Management Administration, and others.

The Navajo Area Indian Health Services reported the Navajo Nation has administered 47,455 doses, including second doses. It has received 64,713 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines so far.

Two Navajo medical centers held large vaccination clinics over the weekend and more people will get shots during events and appointments this week.

“Compared to states across the country, the COVID-19 vaccines are being put into the arms of our people here on the Navajo Nation at a very high rate,” said Nez. “Over the weekend, we saw thousands of people waiting in long lines to receive the vaccines, administered as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Nez thanked the federal government for the help it has already given, but he said they need more help. Nez repeated a request for the administration to issue a major disaster declaration to free up additional money and resources, which included more testing kits for school employees, businesses and essential workers.

The Navajo leaders asked FEMA to extend the deployment of health care workers from the Department of Defense and the Health and Human Services Department, which provided relief to local health workers on the reservation late last year.

The Navajo Nation Health reported 61 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and two more deaths Monday. The total number of deaths is now 1,020.

“The need is growing greater and greater as we receive more reports of the COVID-19 variants spread,” Nez said.

Sunday Nez reported an increase in the number of Navajo communities with “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19.

“Last week, we had 53 communities identified in the Health Advisory Notice, and this week we have 56 identified. We had one day last year with no new cases of COVID-19 reported, but then came Labor Day weekend and our numbers gradually increased from that point on,” Nez said. “We cannot let that happen again. We have to keep taking all precautions to protect ourselves from the virus, even if you receive the first and second doses of the vaccine.”

The latest public health order on the Navajo Nation included an extended stay-at-home order, a daily curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. seven days a week and restrictions on when businesses can open.

Nez and Lizer will host a town hall on their Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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How do I prevent it?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

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Navajo Nation Requests More Pandemic Help From Biden Administration