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Hopi Tribe Responds to COVID-19 Surge


Hopi tribal leaders say large portions of rural northern Arizona were initially left out of coordinated efforts by the the state and local hospitals to balance COVID-19 patient loads. If the imbalance hadn't been realized, Hopi leaders say it would have forced rural health care workers to find other facilities to care for the most critical patients during the recent surge of new cases. 

A letter from the office of Hopi Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma says as Arizona began preparing for the surge, high-demand resources like ventilators were only going to a few health systems, mainly in Phoenix and Tucson. That left out many rural northern Arizona communities, including tribal areas.

Chairman Nuvangyaoma says ideally, state health officials want to create a statewide hub with one central hotline that any Arizona hospital can call to access the right level of care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. He says on the Hopi reservation, local health care facilities are offering the best care possible to assist in response to the surge. 

Presently, the Hopi Health Care Center has tested over 1,553 people. More than 152 have come back positive, 89 of whom are Hopi Tribal members. Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation reports 16 positive tests for the Lower and Upper Villages of Moencopi, with a combined number of 105 positive Hopi Tribal members.