Navajo officials warn of 'uncontrolled' virus spread in 34 communities
The Associated Press
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials have reported 98 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death.
The latest figures released Wednesday night bring the total number of known cases to 12,818 with 596 known deaths.
Tribal health officials said 134,358 people have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic started and 7,828 have recovered.
The Navajo Nation Department of Health has warned residents of the "uncontrolled spread" of COVID-19 in 34 communities on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
“We are dealing with an invisible monster and the only way we are going to beat this virus is by doing it together and listening to our public health experts,” tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. “Our health care system will be overwhelmed and in a crisis situation if we keep seeing increases in new cases.”
The Navajo Nation will have a 56-hour weekend curfew beginning Friday night.
Tribal officials already have urged residents to wear face masks, practice social distancing and limit gatherings to less than five people.
The reservation spans more than 27,000 square miles.
Most people experience mild or moderate symptoms with the coronavirus, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.