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Navajo Nation says 34 communities have uncontrolled spread of COVID-19

(Photo by Bryan Pietsch/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX — The Navajo Nation Department of Health has identified 34 communities with an uncontrolled spread of coronavirus, leading officials to issue a warning and enact a weekend curfew.

The health notice will be in effect until case numbers decline following a surge of infections from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5, Navajo Nation said Wednesday in a press release.

A 56-hour curfew will start Friday at 9 p.m. and continue until 5 a.m. Monday.

Health officials said the increase in cases is due to travel off the Navajo Nation and family gatherings.

“There should be no family gatherings of any kind due to the risks of this virus,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in the release. “We are dealing with an invisible monster and the only way we are going to beat this virus is by doing it together and listening to our public health experts.”

Navajo Nation reported 98 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death on Wednesday.

Since the pandemic started, there have been 12,818 cases and 596 deaths.

“We have to do everything in our power to prevent this surge from surpassing the first wave of COVID-19 cases that we saw in April and May,” Nez said.

“Our health care system will be overwhelmed and in a crisis situation if we keep seeing increases in new cases.”

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