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Arizona's Virus Surge Appears To Have Slowed, But Cases Still Up On Navajo Nation

The pace of additional deaths in Arizona’s Coronavirus outbreak has slowed following a recent surge.

The Arizona Department of Health Services’ tally of deaths statewide rose by seven to 273 as of Saturday, following, an increase of 17 deaths reported Friday and a total of 62 deaths reported over the previous three days. The department said there were 6,820 cases reported statewide as of Saturday, an increase of 235 from Friday.

Health officials said Thursday the recent surge in reported fatalities likely resulted from a boost in cases weeks ago and was expected to slow because it often takes weeks for patients to die once hospitalized and because hospitalizations appeared to have leveled off.

Health officials say the Navajo Nation has 97 new cases of coronavirus and another death. The Navajo Department of Health says there are 1,637 known coronavirus infections across the reservation as of Saturday evening and 59 people have died. The numbers don’t include cases from towns that border the vast reservation that spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says the big increase in cases is partially due to increased testing. To date, there is a total of 7,393 negative test results on the Navajo Nation.

Meanwhile, health officials reported 69 additional COVID-19 cases in New Mexico’s McKinley County including a portion of the Navajo Nation, on Saturday making it the New Mexico county with the most reported cases. The total of 708 cases reported in McKinley County as of Saturday now surpasses the 670 reported in Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque, New Mexico’s most populous city.

McKinley County is bisected by Interstate 40. Gallup, the county seat, is a regional shopping destination, including for many reservation residents.

The New Mexico Department of Health updated its statewide figures, reporting nine additional deaths related to COVID-19 and 139 additional cases of the disease as of Saturday, for a total of 93 deaths and 2,660 cases.