3 people now test presumptive positive for coronavirus on Navajo Nation

Officials with the Navajo Nation now say there are now three cases of COVID-19 in its area.

According to a news release issued Wednesday, the third person infected is a 62-year-old man who is from the same region as the first two confirmed cases.

In earlier news releases, officials identified the first patient as a 46-year-old member of the Navajo Nation with recent travel history. 

The individual is from the community of Chilchinbeto, Ariz., who first reported their symptoms to the Kayenta Health Center.

The patient was then taken to a hospital in Phoenix where the coronavirus test was conducted by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Health officials are taking the proper precautions to screen and isolate the person's family members.

The second patient was identified as a middle-aged man from the same region as the first case. The second person also had a recent travel history.

Officials also say they are deploying a mobile incident command post to the region affected.

The Navajo Nation, a sovereign tribal government, already had declared an emergency on the reservation, closed tribal parks and limited travel for tribal employees. On Tuesday, the tribe announced it will close its casinos — one east of Flagstaff and three in New Mexico — until April 6.

“We have health and emergency experts who have been planning and preparing for this situation for several weeks,” Navajo President Jonathan Nez said in a statement.

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Additional resources

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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