APACHE COUNTY — On Monday, four cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Apache County by the Arizona Department of Health Services. The number in Navajo County had jumped to 25.
The cases are part of a larger outbreak on the Navajo Nation.
According to a Monday press release “Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer were informed by the Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Services that the number of positive tests for COVID-19 has reached a total of 29 for Navajo people. This includes cases from Navajo County and Apache County in Arizona, and McKinley County in New Mexico.” The press releases have been posted on the president and vice-president’s joint Facebook page.
“A Public Health Emergency ‘Stay at Home Order’ remains in effect requiring all residents of the Navajo Nation to remain home and isolated and all non-essential businesses to close to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus,” the release further states.
The Navajo Nation stretches from western New Mexico and southern Utah to Apache, Navajo and Coconino counties in Arizona.
“As of Saturday, there are no confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 for residents of the Navajo Nation,” a press release on Saturday said.
So far, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Navajo or Apache counties outside of the Navajo Nation.
Apache County Public Health Director Preston Raban said that his office stands ready to assist the Navajo Nation. “We’re working closely with the Nation … we’re in a holding pattern … waiting to help any way we can,” Raban said on Saturday.
During the weekend, Navajo Nation Police and First Responders worked to bring food and firewood to seniors and the sick, and to spread the word about the remain at home order.
The Apache County Board of Supervisors approved a Declaration of a County Public Health Emergency on Friday. The agenda of the Navajo County Board of Supervisors for today also includes an emergency declaration.
Furthermore, Gov. Ducey issued an executive order late on March 19 closing the dining rooms of restaurants (take-out orders are allowed), movie theaters and gyms in an effort to slow the outbreak of the coronavirus. Navajo County businesses had to comply with the order by the end of the business day on Friday, March 19. With the announcement of positive cases in Apache County, businesses there worked to comply with the order over the weekend.
Raban expressed confidence in the Navajo Nation’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“They’re doing everything they can. They’re full court press,” he said.