COVID-19 cases on Navajo Nation top 3,000; Eastern Navajo Fair canceled

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation saw the number of positive cases for COVID-19 surpass 3,000 over the weekend.

The Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area Indian Health Service and Navajo Epidemiology Center reported on May 10 that the total number of cases is 3,122.

The recent number was included in a press release from the tribe's Office of the President and Vice President, which stated the tally includes individuals who "have recovered or are in the process of recovering from the virus."

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in the release that the health department is working to calculate the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Signs that encourage the public to stay at home have appeared in communities on the Navajo Nation. This sign is pictured on May 8 on Navajo Route 34 in Sanostee.

Two additional deaths were also reported on May 10 by the three agencies, bringing the death toll to 100.

Nez confirmed to The Daily Times that he will extend the closure order for the executive branch past May 17.

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The closure could extend for another two weeks and details about the extension will be released later this week, according to Nez's office.

The legislative branch is operating under limited services until further notice. The judicial branch closed court buildings to the public and will continue offering limited services to May 29.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, center, talks with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel on April 29, 2020 during a tour of the alternate care site the Corps built inside Northwest High School in Shiprock.

Board cancels Eastern Navajo Fair

The 2020 Eastern Navajo Fair in Crownpoint has been cancelled due to concerns over the novel coronavirus.

Fair board president Johnny Johnson said board members made the decision in a teleconference call on May 9.

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Since the virus is new and its behavior remains under study, the board considered that information in their decision, Johnson said in a telephone interview on May 11.

They also considered the various public health orders issued by tribal, state and federal governments, including those that prohibit people from gathering in large numbers, and the overall safety of community members, he said.

The fair was scheduled for July 23 to July 26. It is the first fair to start the season on the Navajo Nation.

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"We don't know how long the virus will stay around and since there's no vaccine for the virus, it would be safe and best practice to cancel," Johnson said.

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

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