Hard-Hit Navajo Nation May Have Passed Its COVID-19 Peak
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a virtual town hall Tuesday that the reservation hit its peak number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and emergency room visits a few weeks early thanks to social distancing and mask-wearing.
That peak came in late April, not in mid-May as Indian Health Services had projected.
Nez credited social distancing, strict curfews and Navajo citizens' willingness to wear masks.
"You might be thinking, 'Well, I didn’t have that much to do with it.' Yes you did. If you’re wearing a mask, you’re a warrior," Nez said.
The Navajo Nation reported 157 deaths out of 4,689 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
If the reservation were a state, it'd have the highest amount of positive cases per capita in the country – but it also has the highest testing rate. All that testing means that people who don't need hospitalization are finding out they have the virus, staying home and slowing the spread, Nez said.
He is concerned about neighboring communities though.
“We have to also monitor the people around us, right?... Like this past weekend, Grand Canyon was open. I hope not to see a spike," he said.
One of the routes into the popular park is through Navajo lands. The Navajo Nation implemented a 57-hour curfew over Memorial Day weekend while part of the park was open.
Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter @MadelynBeck8
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