COVID-19 in Arizona: Navajo Nation cancels July 4 celebrations, ends weekend curfew
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COVID-19 in Arizona: Navajo Nation cancels July 4 celebrations, ends weekend curfew

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PHOENIX – Navajo leaders on Wednesday canceled this year’s Fourth of July celebrations in Window Rock as the tribe continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Jonathan Nez announced the cancellation Wednesday during a Facebook Live town hall in which he also lifted the 57-hour weekend curfew “unless we see numbers increase once again for coronavirus cases.”

In addition, the reopening of businesses has been pushed from June 8 to July 5, which will give the tribe more time to clean buildings, get employees tested and get stocked up on personal protection equipment, according to a new executive order from Nez.

The 57-hour curfew had been implemented on the reservation every weekend since April 10. However, Arizona’s statewide curfew, enacted Sunday in response to the protests over the death of George Floyd, remains in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily until June 8.

The vast Navajo reservation has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. To date, Navajo health officials report 5,533 positive cases of COVID-19 and 252 confirmed deaths.

As of Wednesday, June 3, the Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 22,223 cases of COVID-19 and 981 deaths in the state. It said 345,044 tests have been completed as of June 3 in public and private labs in Arizona, and 5.8% of tests have come back positive for the virus. Less than 5% of Arizonans have been tested to date. Coconino County has 1,142 cases and 82 deaths as of Wednesday morning, with 12 percent of its tests coming back positive.

Arizona health officials reported 1,127 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a one-day record. Officials have previously said numbers often surge on Tuesdays because it’s the day officials catch up with weekend reporting. However, the new figure is a considerable surge over the previous record, 790 cases reported May 30.

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