WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (ABC4) – On Saturday, the Navajo Department of Health (NDH) released its figures on COVID-19 infections, deaths and recoveries for the Navajo Nation.
The latest report says there have been 61 new cases of COVID-19 and no recent deaths. The death toll remains at 1,471. The report also states that 33,897 people have recovered from COVID-19 and that 354,430 tests have been administered within the Navajo community.
That’s a drop from Friday’s report, which was not released due to technical issues with the NDH’s reporting system. This report indicated that there were 69 new cases, including 14 cases where notification was delayed. No new deaths have been reported either. However, the total number of new cases is now 36,083. This figure also includes 279 delayed cases that date back to September.
State reports on COVID-19 cases vary. Arizona has reported 3,145 new cases. However, Utah and New Mexico will not release numbers until Monday.
In 2020, the impact of the pandemic on the Native American economy has been devastating, according to Professor Emeritus of International Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School, Joseph Kalt.
He said the tribal tax base has been reduced in the states, especially those where they depend on income from the casinos they own. State governments, on the contrary, were better off economically despite the pandemic.
“While state and local governments are also struggling, at least they have a tax base, but the tribes are really in trouble because their tax base has been wiped out,” Kalt said.
Earlier this month, the Navajo Nation announced where it was allocating $ 389 million out of the more than $ 2 billion received from the American Rescue Plan Act which passed in March. Wording in the bill says it provides “additional relief to deal with the continued impact of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.”
Much of that would go to rebuilding their electrical and septic systems as well as other utilities. Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said at the time that the tribe had never received this amount of funding from both the federal government.
But even with increased funding to help rebuild their infrastructure, the Navajo Nation continues to experience an increase in COVID-19 cases. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez continues to advise people on how to weather the pandemic by taking simple steps to protect their health, including getting vaccinated.
“If you decide to travel, please take precautions and wear a mask in public,” Nez said, “We need to do more to keep ourselves safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Sadly, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, so stay on your toes and get vaccinated if you haven’t already. “
Vice President Lizer encouraged unity through community members who support each other and healthcare workers equally.
“We are weathering the pandemic one day at a time,” he said, “But we must remain diligent. Be careful and continue to pray for our people and our frontline workers.”
Healthcare facilities in the Navajo Nation continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Residents who wish to be vaccinated should make an appointment with their health care provider.
For more information on prevention tips and other COVID-19 resources, visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website here. For questions and information regarding COVID-19, call (928) 871-7014.