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FARMINGTON — Offices under the Navajo Nation Legislative Branch will be closed starting on May 1 and buildings will undergo deep cleaning after an employee reported symptoms of the coronavirus.

Speaker Seth Damon explained in a press release April 30 that the closure was done out of caution, and he recommends workers and the 24 council delegates complete testing for COVID-19 if they present symptoms.

He also cancelled a special session for May 1, which would have taken place via telecommunications.

"Thursday evening, a legislative branch employee reported symptoms of the coronavirus. I am closing all offices, ordering all legislative branch buildings to be sanitized and am in contact with the Navajo Area Indian Health Service to bolster monitoring efforts," Damon said.

He added that the employee interacted with staff members once in the last two weeks.

The branch is comprised of 13 programs, which have been operating under limited staff since March

"Work will continue to move forward under expanded remote work plans with each of the programs," the release states.

According to the release, Navajo Area IHS Director Roselyn Tso advised that workers self-monitor for symptoms and, if symptoms occur, they visit the nearest health care facility to complete testing for COVID-19 and then self-quarantine until the results are received.

The Navajo Nation Council chamber in Window Rock, Arizona will be closed and will reopen after thorough cleaning and a traditional ceremony is held, the release states.

"Our legislative branch family was aware of this possibility, and together, we will continue to encourage each other to be strong and supportive of ourselves and the communities we serve," Damon said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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