Navajo Nation president: Still not safe to go out in public amid COVID-19

Additional deaths and COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation’s sprawling reservation indicates it’s still not safe for residents to go out in public, the tribe’s president said.

The tribal health department late Wednesday reported 147 more confirmed COVID-19 cases with 16 additional deaths from the coronavirus outbreak. The increases put the number of cases at 3,392 with a total of 119 deaths.

The reservation includes large areas of ArizonaNew Mexico and a small part of Utah.

The Navajo Nation has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with the tribe implementing curfews to try to stop the spread of the disease among residents of its far-flung communities.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez said some states are starting to reopening but that the latest case and deaths numbers indicate that residents should still stay home and only go out in public when necessary.

“It’s very disheartening to see more and more traffic on our roads and more people going into border towns, but we’re not giving up. We’re going to look at what else we need to do to bring the numbers down,” he said in a statement.

Nez said he wants to see more use of facilities constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to house positive COVID-19 patients so they can isolate themselves and prevent further spread of the virus.

On Tuesday, the Navajo Nation extended its state of emergency and the closure of Navajo Nation government offices until June 7.

Tribal health officials said many of the people who tested positive for coronavirus have recovered or are in the process of recovering.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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.

MAP: Worldwide interactive Coronavirus case data

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
How it spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

Arizona COVID-19 Response
Public resources, FAQ, webinars
https://www.azdhs.gov/coronavirus

On CoronavirusNOW.com, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.

RELATED:

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.