Tribes take measures to slow spread of new coronavirus
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Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press Updated 1:44 am CDT, Sunday, March 22, 2020
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Sharon Bahe has made her home on the Navajo Nation a refuge, placing cedar branches and burning sage to help purify the space and praying for protection for herself and her children home from boarding school and a toddler with severe asthma.
Her community of about 500 in northern Arizona has become a hot spot for the new coronavirus, with several cases confirmed. While other kids play outside, she tells hers they can’t “until the virus goes away.”
Officials on the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation, on Friday broadened a stay-at-home order from Chilchinbeto to the entire reservation: No visitors in, and residents can’t leave their homes except for essential tasks, including to get food and medical supplies.
The order is among the strictest yet in Indian Country, though tribes across the U.S. for weeks have been preparing amid worries that the outbreak could quickly overwhelm a chronically underfunded health care system and affect a population that suffers disproportionately from cancer, diabetes and some respiratory diseases.
March 22, 2020 at 1:44 PM #290930jwirrParticipant
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My Granddaughter is one of the people in charge of social services on this rez. They are doing a great job of helping their people stay safe. There are no known cased in our rural county yet but they have closed down businesses or given stay at home work to workers. Children are at home and these kids are lucky because at least they most have places where they can play in their own back yards. Meals on Wheels has assured people that they will keep their program running and the public schools have kept their bus routes running to help deliver lunches to school children. Kids wait at the end of the drive as if they are going to school instead they are given their meals.
Unlike years ago many of the workers at the services and clinics are Native American and they do not ignore the needs of the people. That is not to say that all non-Native workers would ignore this crisis but we all know that it has happened in the past.
March 26, 2020 at 7:08 PM #292938Judi LynnMember
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Thank goodness for people like the ones you’ve mentioned. Hope they will all come through this together.
Thanks for taking the time to share what you’ve found out. Best wishes for your Granddaughter and everyone connected.
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