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Morning Rundown: Tuesday, February 2

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It's Tuesday, Feb. 2. Start your day with some of our latest morning headlines:

Hopi Reservation Extends Lockdown Order

Hopi officials have extended a reservation-wide lockdown order for another month amid continuing COVID-19 transmission. The reservation reported a positivity rate of 25.6 percent among residents who tested for the virus; officials say they’ve seen 115 active cases over the last two weeks. Hopi authorities also reported a 95.5 daily case rate per 100,000 people — a higher case rate than that of Arizona.

Officials say the surge was in part caused by residents who traveled to different villages and reportedly left the reservation. The extended lockdown requires residents on Hopi land to wear masks at all times in public, and restricts secular gatherings among members of different households. The executive order says residents can be subject to “criminal penalties” if they do not follow the mandate, which is now set to expire March 1.

Coconino County Cites “Very Little” Vaccine Supply

Coconino County released a statement Monday saying the county has “very little” vaccine supply as healthcare workers administer vaccines to residents in the 1A and 1B prioritization categories. 

 

All first-dose appointments for Fort Tuthill’s vaccination sites are filled for the month of February, according to yesterday’s announcement. Appointments at North Country Healthcare have also reached capacity, though the facility allows residents to sign up for notifications regarding availability. 

 

The county website says vaccination appointments are forthcoming at the Veterans Administration, the Safeway at Cedar Avenue, and Native Americans for Community Action. A full list of facilities can be found here

Rep. Arlando Teller To Leave State Legislature, Join Biden Administration

Rep. Arlando Teller on Monday announced his resignation from the Arizona Legislature as he joins the Biden administration. He will now specialize as deputy secretary assistant in tribal affairs for the U.S. transportation department. Teller, who’s from Chinle, was serving his second term in Arizona’s House of Representatives. Apache County’s Board of Supervisors will appoint a Democrat to replace Teller after three candidates are chosen from a citizen’s panel. 

 

Teller worked for transportation divisions in California, Arizona and on the Navajo Nation; he also served in the state legislature’s transportation committee. The United States Senate is set to vote later today on the confirmation of Pete Buttigieg to lead the department. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez congratulated Teller in a statement; Nez added he recently spoke with Buttegieg to discuss infrastructure needs on the reservation. 

 

Wahleah Johns Tapped To Lead Office Of Indian Energy

The Biden Administration late last month also appointed Wahleah Johns to lead the country’s Office of Indian Energy. Johns in 2016 co-founded the coalition Native Renewables — a Flagstaff-based organization that works to provide solar energy options for Navajo and Hopi families on tribal lands. 

 

The Office of Indian Energy oversees energy development and is tasked with connecting Native homes to electrical sources. An estimated 15,000 households on the Navajo Nation lack electricity — according to the American Public Power Association, those homes “make up 75 percent of unelectrified households in the United States.”