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Navajo Nation Extends Curfew and Lockdown Amid Second Major COVID-19 Spike

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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File
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Navajo Nation leaders have extended the tribe’s stay-at-home lockdown as well as its 57-hour weekend curfew amid growing numbers of COVID-19 infections.

Healthcare officials say a major health crisis is unfolding on the Navajo Nation where 663 people have died from the virus and more than 17,300 people have been infected since the pandemic began. Hospitals on and near the reservation could soon become overwhelmed as officials grapple with staff, oxygen and bed shortages.

“We have been in a state of emergency since the pandemic began here on the Navajo Nation, but that has now elevated to a major health care crisis," said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez in a press release. "Our health care experts are now saying that the current wave or surge is far more severe and troublesome than the wave that we saw in April and May, perhaps four or five times larger according to projections. Our medical experts on the front lines are pleading with all of our Navajo people to stay home as much as possible in order to reduce and isolate the spread of COVID-19."

The tribe’s public health order extends the reservation-wide lockdown except for essential workers, emergencies and to buy essential items. It also limits the hours essential businesses can operate to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and reinstates bans on gatherings along with mask and other safety measures.

On Thursday, tribal officials confirmed 236 new known COVID cases and five more deaths.

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