The leader of the Navajo Nation said Sunday that the second COVID-19 wave hitting the tribe is “much more dire and much more severe.”
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez warned in a statement that the tribe’s intensive care unit beds are almost filled to capacity, and health care workers are close to having to make “difficult decisions” when distributing resources.
“We are near a point where our health care providers are going to have to make very difficult decisions in terms of providing medical treatment to COVID-19 patients with very limited resources such as hospital beds, oxygen resources, medical personnel and little to no options to transport patients to other regional hospitals because they are also near full capacity,” Nez said.
“This second wave of COVID-19 is much more dire and much more severe than the first wave we had in April and May,” he added.
The Navajo Nation documented 177 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and no new deaths. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 17,915 people have tested positive and 667 have died of COVID-19.
177 new cases, 9,833 recoveries, and no recent deaths related to COVID-19 as new provisions under latest public health order set to take effect on Monday pic.twitter.com/3iOyi5fdwY
— Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez (@NNPrezNez) December 7, 2020
The tribe’s new public health emergency order went into effect Monday morning, extending a stay-at-home lockdown for three weeks and limiting essential business hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the weekdays.
The Navajo Nation also made moves to expand their isolation sites for people who tested positive or are waiting for results and don’t want to infect other household members.
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said the tribe’s health care system is “in a state of major crisis” and called for individual adherence to coronavirus rules.
“We, as citizens of the Nation, have to step up and do more to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Lizer said in a statement. “We cannot be careless and we have to stay the course.”
“We are hopeful that a safe vaccine will soon be made available to fight this pandemic even more,” he said. “Until then, we must continue to have faith in our prayers and keep making good decisions for all of us.”