Navajo Nation, with highest COVID-19 infection rate in US, receives crucial resources

The Navajo Nation, covering parts of northern Arizona, now has the highest infection rate of COVID-19 in the country.

This weekend will mark its seventh curfew as it attempts to stop the spread.

Many Navajo Nation residents say they are afraid to go to gas stations and grocery stores, and that's where Phoenix's St. Mary's Food Bank steps in.

Six semi-trucks worth of food will head to the Navajo Nation Thursday to drop off much-needed nourishment.

But, there's a long way to go to help the struggling people of the nation as supplies continue to pour in. Families will receive more than 50 pounds of food from Thursday's drop off.

RELATED: LIVE Blog: Coronavirus in Arizona - Latest case numbers

“It’s a crisis what’s going on up there and this food will help families make it through the quarantine and curfew," said Tom Kertis, CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank.

There are more than 4,000 cases and more than 140 deaths in Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation President believes the virus is being picked up at border town grocery stores and gas stations and hitching a ride back home.

RELATED: Navajo Nation reports highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rate in US

“Multiple generations of the same family live under one roof so when one person comes back, they tend to infect the whole family," explained Navajo Nation President, Jonathan Nez.

The nation finally received federal funds last week, he said. With it, they’ve opened three new care centers for seriously sick patients.

Nez admits he’s on edge now that border states, like Arizona, are opening up again. “The fear is that if all these other places open up, we will have another spike in cases. I hope that doesn’t happen," Nez said.

The Navajo Nation has tested nearly 13% of the population, more than most states and they have dispatched contact tracing teams to warn the people at risk.

Donations like this from the food bank are a lifeline during the curfews like the one coming this weekend.

For more on COVID-19 cases in the Navajo Nation and Arizona, visit here.