Navajo Nation on three-week lockdown, limiting travel and business hours

Navajo Nation
Posted at 4:48 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 21:16:10-05

The Navajo Nation has begun a three-week lockdown for its citizens to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

"This virus takes off like wildfire," said Navajo Nation President Johnathan Nez regarding a recent spike of COVID-19 cases across his constituents. I think we just let down. There’s COVID fatigue here on Navajo as well."

The Navajo Nation is on pace to surpass its record for number of daily positive COVID-19 cases set back on May 13 with 238 cases. On Friday, the nation reported 172 cases, trending toward the 200 mark.

"It’s not really that it’s back. It’s always been here," said Jill Jim, Ph.D., Executive Director for the Navajo Department of Health. "We took action because we are probably going to surpass our peak from May."

The lockdown includes keeping visitors out, and business hours have been restricted from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

"People are going to be mandated to stay home," said Nez. "One person out of the family should be going to the supermarket to get essentials."

"That is the whole purpose of this shelter in place is to reduce movement and reduce transmission," said Jim, Ph.D.

President Nez said one of his bigger concerns is hospital availability if cases result in hospitalizations.

"A big surge in hospital use, our fear is that we might not be able to get some of our constituents off the Navajo Nation to get that immediate medical care," said Nez.