Navajo Nation President: Tribe yet to receive federal dollars for COVID-19

Apr 10, 2020, 7:59 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

PHOENIX — The Navajo Nation — located in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah — reported an additional 39 positive cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 597.

As the virus sweeps across the tribe, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Friday that the tribe has yet to receive federal money to fight COVID-19, with the exception of some that have come into the Navajo Nation Indian Health Service “bits at a time.”

“Three legislations have been approved by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States of America, but we have yet to see any of those dollars come into the Navajo Nation, and I think clear across Indian country as well,” Nez said.

“Money that was intended for U.S. citizens throughout the country, they’re getting it, the states are getting it, the counties are getting it … but the first citizens of this country are still at the bottom of the list,” he added.

Nez admitted the Navajo Nation doesn’t have the best healthcare facilities to treat the tribe made up of 350,000 members, half of which Naz said lives off the Navajo Nation.

The tribe currently has close to 200 beds and 50 ventilators, according to Nez, with another 50 ventilators coming. He added the Arizona National Guard put a temporary medical facility tent in Chinle, Arizona.

In an effort to fight the virus, the Navajo Nation is enacting a 57-hour curfew that is set to begin on Friday evening and last until Monday morning at 5:00 a.m., with the exception of essential employees who are required to have documentation from their employer.

Navajo police will enforce the curfew with citations that may include a fine up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail, according to a press release.

Meanwhile, Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer announced in an online town hall update on Thursday that they are self-quarantined after being near somebody who later tested positive for the virus.

On day two of his 14-day quarantine, Nez said he’s feeling great and doesn’t have any symptoms.

“This incident is not going to keep me down,” Nez said. “Once those 12 days are up we are going to be out there, boots on the ground helping our Navajo Nation citizens.”

No additional deaths related to the coronavirus in the Navajo Nation were reported on Friday, leaving the total at 22.

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Navajo Nation President: Tribe yet to receive federal dollars for COVID-19