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Hopi Stay-At-Home Order Continues Amid COVID-19 Surge

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Most of Arizona is seeing the fall surge of COVID-19 cases that many health experts had predicted. As a result the Hopi Tribe continues its reservation-wide stay-at-home order as infections there have grown in recent weeks. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The order applies to most government operations on Hopi other than essential services. It strongly recommends that the approximately 9,000 residents in the tribe’s 12 villages remain home and avoid travel off the reservation if possible except for in cases of emergency.

"We’re like four times the national average. Our average is so high that we need to be really alarmed and concerned as far as how we’re going to process this. We don’t have a healthcare center out here that can actually accommodate patients," says Hopi Vice Chairman Clark Tenakhongva.

Hopi officials say local healthcare systems could be overwhelmed if cases continue to rise at such a rapid rate. They’re also concerned about recent spikes in hospitalizations, ventilator use and the percent of positive COVID tests at the Hopi Health Care Center.

Tribal leaders also worry about the limited number of healthcare workers on Hopi, and the detrimental effects infections could have within the local medical community.

The neighboring Navajo Nation this week also reinstated a stay-at-home order as cases there have also surged. Many counties in Arizona are experiencing growing numbers as most of the U.S. sees a third major COVID spike since the pandemic began more than eight months ago.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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