Navajo Nation sees highest single day count for COVID-19 cases over weekend
FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation reported 101 new positive cases of COVID-19 on April 11, the largest single day increase since the first case was reported last month.
Data provided by the Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area Indian Health Service and Navajo Epidemiology Center reflects 698 confirmed cases from counties where individuals live on the reservation, including the non-contiguous chapters of Alamo and Tóhajiilee.
The data was released in separate press releases on April 11 from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President and the Navajo Health Operations Command Center, the entity created by the tribe's public health state of emergency to oversee daily response to the pandemic.
It shows the highest number of cases remains in Navajo County, with 252, and Coconino County with 150. Both counties are in northeast Arizona, but cases have been reported in counties that consist of the Navajo Nation boundaries.
San Juan County in New Mexico has 97 cases, McKinley County in New Mexico has 92 cases, Apache County in Arizona has 79 cases, Cibola County in New Mexico and San Juan County in Utah both have 11 cases and Socorro County in New Mexico has six cases.
The agencies did not release a report for new cases on April 12, due to the Easter holiday.
Curfew ends after 57 hours
The Navajo Nation ended a 57-hour curfew authorized by the Navajo Department of Health to combat the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in communities.
Throughout the curfew – which started at 8 p.m. April 10 and ended at 5 a.m. April 13 – the Navajo Police Department maintained checkpoints, deployed additional officers and made public service announcements in residential areas over the weekend.
Navajo police spokeswoman Christina Tsosie did not have a total number for citations issued for violating the curfew but provided information for the Shiprock police district.
The Shiprock district conducted checkpoints at various times on April 10 through April 12 on U.S. Highway 64 in Hogback and on U.S. Highway 491 in Shiprock.
Five citations for violating the curfew were issued on April 10, followed by 22 citations on April 11 and 36 citations on April 12, according to the district.
Officers issued 140 traffic violations for actions such as speeding and not wearing seat belts, the district reported.
Navajo Police Chief Phillip Francisco said he thinks the curfew operations were successful and personnel did view compliance by the public and limited traffic, except for essential employees.
Essential employees were exempt from the weekend curfew, and from the nightly curfew. They must have work identifications and a letter from their employers.
"An operation of this capacity takes a lot of planning and coordination and I want to acknowledge and thank my officers for their commitment and dedication to keeping our communities safe," Francisco said in a statement to The Daily Times.
He also credited the public for complying with the public health emergency orders.
"However, we want to remind the public that the Navajo Nation stay-at-home orders and the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew orders are still in place and should be complied with on a daily basis," he said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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