Navajo Nation Extends Community Closure Into May And Gets Big Water Donation

By Brandy Rae Ramirez

April 22, 2020

The delivery comes as the Navajo Nation extends its community closure to May 17 due to a continued increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. 

On Wednesday, Governor Doug Ducey announced the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) and Swire Coca-Cola donated 30,000 liters of Dasani Water and two pallets of Coca-Cola beverages to the Navajo Nation. 

The Nation continues to face great impact to its communities during the pandemic, with 63 new cases of coronavirus and three more deaths reported Tuesday. Overall, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases now stand at 1,206 and 48 known deaths.

But tribal health officials said the numbers don’t include cases for border towns as was being previously reported by the Navajo Epidemiology Center.

They said the 1,206 cases include 569 men and 637 women with an average age of 48. The average age for the 48 who have died is 65.

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The county with the highest number of cases in the Nation is Arizona’s Navajo County with 328 coronavirus patients, followed by New Mexico’s McKinley County at 244.

Because of the continued impact of the virus, Tribal President Jonathan Nez issued an executive order Tuesday extending the closure of government offices and related facilities to May 17. The order was originally set to expire on April 26.

Nez said there’s a “slight flattening of the curve” but there’s still a need to remain vigilant.

“We’re not letting our guard down – now is not the time,” he said in a statement.

Nez noted that a 57-hour lockdown on the reservation on weekends will continue over the coming weekend, beginning Friday at 8 p.m. and continuing until 5 a.m. Monday.

As for the two truckloads of supplies, the governor’s office said the delivery was made Wednesday morning to Nakai Hall at the Window Rock Fairgrounds on the Navajo Nation. 

RELATED: Arizona Coronavirus Deaths Jump to 21 in One Day

“Arizona is working with our tribal, federal and private partners to ensure the health and safety of all communities,” said Governor Ducey. “We are grateful for this shipment from Swire Coca-Cola to our neighbors in the Navajo Nation. My thanks to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Swire Coca-Cola and everyone working to provide assistance to those in need during the COVID-19 health emergency.”

Nez said the Nation is very thankful for the coordination of Governor Ducey and Swire Coca-Cola to contribute bottled water for the Navajo people. 

He said, “It’s through great partnerships such as this, that we will overcome COVID-19. We are stronger and more resilient when we unite and work together.”

Roger White, division vice president of Northern Arizona Swire Coca-Cola, said this effort is a way to be a part of the common good and inspire each other. 

“We look forward to the day when we can come together again,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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