Navajo Nation warns of coronavirus

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer, and Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim are encouraging members of the Navajo Nation to be aware and take precautions of the spread of the potentially deadly novel coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and is reported to have reached the U.S. including one case reported in Maricopa County, Arizona. 

Symptoms of the virus may include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and is known to spread person-to-person. It can take up to 2 to 14 days for the virus to become active after exposure. Currently, there is no vaccine available for the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“As we continue to closely monitor the coronavirus, we caution our Navajo people and encourage them to be aware of the growing spread of the virus. This is a serious public health concern that must be shared with all people. We ask that you share information with you children, elders, and others who may not have access to information via internet, television, and other means. It’s critical that everyone take precautions and continue to learn more about the coronavirus,” said President Nez.

The World Health Organization encourages people to avoid close contact with others showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing and to wash your hands with warm water and soap often, stay home if you are sick, and to minimize long-distance travel. The coronavirus has the potential to become severe. Severe cases can also lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, and in some cases death. The most vulnerable are the elders, young children and those with compromised immune systems.

“We are asking everyone to inform your family and friends of the coronavirus based on the limited information available at this point. As you go about your daily routines and especially when you travel, please take precautions. If you are feeling any symptoms for an extended period of time, we encourage you to visit your healthcare provider to get checked,” stated Vice President Lizer. 

The Nez-Lizer Administration and the Navajo Department of Health will continue to coordinate with county, state, and federal officials to monitor the evolving impacts of the coronavirus and continue to encourage the public to take precautions. If you have traveled to Wuhan, China recently and have developed fever and shortness of breath symptoms within 14 days of your travel, stay home and contact your health provider right away or get seen at your local hospital, as well this pertains if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have the coronavirus. 

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