WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Friday, the Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center issued a Public Health Emergency “Stay at Home Order” requiring all residents of the Navajo Nation to remain home and isolated and all non-essential businesses to close to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The previous shelter-in-place order for the community of Chilchinbeto in now expanded to the entire Navajo Nation.
“We are getting many reports of people still being out in public and putting elders and everyone at risk. This is a very serious situation and if need be, we will take steps to enforce the “Stay at Home Order” even more. The more people go out in public, the greater the risk is for a massive health crisis on the Navajo Nation. We are telling our people to stay home to protect themselves and others, which will help our health professional take care of those who need medical attention,” said President Nez.
In a short period of time, COVID-19 has arrived on the Navajo Nation and the number of cases remains at 14 as of Friday. The degree of contact of contagious individuals and the subsequent degree of exposure is unknown and continued person-to-person spread throughout the Navajo Nation thereby poses an extensive and substantial public health risk, according to the order.
“While there are a higher number of people receiving negative COVID-19 test results for the virus at this point, there are many tests that are awaiting results and confirmation. The purpose of the closure is to allow the Navajo Nation as a whole to isolate and quarantine. Isolation and quarantine help protect our Nation by preventing exposure to people who have or may have the contagious COVID-19 virus. Isolation separates people who may be sick with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick,” President Nez added.
The order also outlines provisions for “essential activities, essential businesses, and any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of essential infrastructure.” It further states that Navajo Nation citizens are required to stay home and undertake only those outings absolutely necessary for their health, safety, or welfare as described herein.
“It’s incumbent of every person to comply with this order. Our ancestors have been through much worse and we need to remember that. We are going to get through this with the power of prayer. Please continue to be mindful of our elders and those at high-risk. COVID-19 is extremely dangerous for our elders, for people over 60. Think of the safety of our elders. Stay home,” added Vice President Lizer.
On Friday, President Nez and Vice President Lizer also approved a $4 million appropriation that will be directed to the Navajo Department of Health to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Navajo Nation and deliver much-needed resources and equipment to health care experts and emergency response personnel on the ground. The funding will provide medical supplies, food and water supplies, equipment, public outreach, and more.
To view the entire “Stay at Home Order,” please visit: http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/.
PDF: “Stay At Home Order” Dikos Ntsaagii-19