Uncontrolled COVID-19 spread reported in 34 Navajo Nation communities

Navajo Nation health officials on Nov. 11 warned residents of the “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19 in 34 communities on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

“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,” tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. “Our health care system will be overwhelmed and in a crisis situation if we keep seeing increases in new cases.”

The Navajo Nation will have a 56-hour weekend curfew beginning Friday night.

Tribal officials already have urged residents to wear face masks, practice social distancing and limit gatherings to less than five people.

They reported 79 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and one additional death, bringing the total number of known cases to 12,720 with 595 known deaths.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

Nearly 134,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic started and about 7,800 have recovered, according to tribal health officials.

The reservation spans more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers).

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. 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.

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