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Navajo Nation had no new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation had no reports of new cases of COVID-19 on Sept. 8, a first since the initial confirmed case was announced in March.

The total number of positive cases reached 9,903 on Tuesday, according to a press release from the tribe's Office of the President and Vice President.

The tally included two additional cases from July that were previously unreported to health agencies on tribal land, the release states.

"No new cases reported today is good news, but the reality is that our daily numbers will continue to fluctuate as long as there is no vaccine available," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in the release.

"We appreciate all of the hard work that the Navajo people have done to this point, and we want everyone to stay the course and continue to bring the numbers down consistently," Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said in the release.

Vehicles form a line at the free testing site for COVID-19 sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Health and the National Guard on May 5 at Shiprock High School in Shiprock.

Despite the update about no new cases, the Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area Indian Health Service and Navajo Epidemiology Center reported four more people died due to the new virus, increasing the death toll to 527.

The tribe extended its nightly curfews and 32-hour weekend lockdowns this month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Last month the tribe reopened with moderate to high restrictions under an orange status.

MORE:Navajo Nation eyes spending remaining CARES Act dollars

Nez mentioned during the Sept. 8 town hall meeting that officials were re-evaluating the status but reconsidered such action due to recommendations by public health officials.

"Our public health professionals decided it was a little bit too soon because of Labor Day. We saw many vehicles throughout the nation on the roads," Nez said.

A time frame for further reducing restrictions is on hold until any impact from Labor Day weekend is known, he added.

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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Health care workers from Northern Navajo Medical Center, San Juan County Public Health Office and the National Guard collected samples from the public at a free testing site for COVID-19 on May 5 at Shiprock High School in Shiprock.