Live-blogging Navajo press conference, 3.23.20

Media we really need your help. There are certain reporting out there that should be verified and any reporter should investigate and verify before published. Not cause hysteria and panic. Abide by Navajo government press releases. We are doing everything we can to verify. 350,000 members last count, 27,000 sq miles and about half living off rez. So when giving updates on cases, these are residents of Navajo Nation.
One member off rez and trying to verify residence, some dual residence and why asking media to help.
As you know stay at home order, hunker down. Any gathering of supplies, one person. For elders recognize they need help.
29 cases on Navajo in McKinley County, Apache County and Navajo County.
We are now going to transition into reporting by county. Navajo citizens live elsewhere. Say Navajo County on Navajo as positive cases increasing and three more cases from Navajo Nation epidiminology and HIS. Getting info director from state health departments.

Thank Navajo Council for $4M immediately cuz could not wait for outside federal assistance.

Logs of wood from Church Groups and deliver to Chilchinbeto.

We know people want to help. Some elders living in rural areas and not encouraging individuals to deliver food unless have proper protective gear. Ask volunteers to report to Navajo Nation Command Center, which delivered food to Chilchinbeto.

Communicated with border town officials that our borders are closed and to please deter visitors.

Navajo command center working with Indian Health Services. We have to abide by federal IHS privacy of patients.

NM health department provided some personal protective gear, including masks.

Hope Washington, DC, understands needs in Ngloves, face shields and masks and disposable and can’t reuse, especially when delivering care packages. WE are using own resources and we have not seen a portion of $40 million. We are asking federal elected officials to process $40M so can get financial assistance. Asked for personal protective gear from Congressional representatives and senators.

And before bring on VP Lizer, always bring message of hope that front line responders are trained and please take of yourselves. Navajo ancestors overcame through strength and prayer. Federal government took out prayer out of government meetings but every Indian Country start their meetings with prayers that also includes whole world.

Navajo people were removed to Fort Sumner/Hweeedle and we survived. We must keep unified. Now is not the time to be divided.

VP LIZER have to be restated that lot of people being status quo and not call people ignorant but people must stay home. COVID-19 can create substantial harm to Navajo Nation as cases increase. Medical professionals said in different stages and so paramount to listen to elected officials.

asking no visitors so reduce spread from outside and inside. Stay home and address only urgent needs. Wash hands. Use 15-day quarantine to clean home. Stay home and save lives but yet we had to ask for help to enforce.

Navajo, we are spritual peole so take to next level with prayer, songs or reading scripture, Isaiah. Closng thought, God whispers in pleasure but shouts to us in pain. We are blessed nation but have fallen away. More Bible passages. And walk in harmoney: Congress aruging over Stimulus Pasckage. OUr people need financial stimulus.

I reiterate everything President Nez said and tell Navajo Nation Judicial Branch and Legislative Branch that we need to work together.

NAVAJO HEALTH DEPARTMENT JILL JIM, PHD this will last for months and lives change daily from when started so continue educating that new norm and take drastic changes in daily lives to protect elders, etc. We are resopnsible for comprehensive health of people and working with variety of state, tribal and federal agencies.

we are in accelerated stage of pandemic. We have our own faith. Thank you.

NAVAJO AREA IHS ROSELY TSO: IHS works with Navajo Nation and health department. Addressing medical supply issues. WE have 12 service units and enhancing screening process. at many facilities have changed intake process and loking at services to reduce.

Lastly, thank staff.

assure IHS preparing and adopting to screening, testing and care to pateitns especially those testing postive. working with Navajo incident command on cases. STay home, shelter in palce, not gather, clean sufaces, wash ands, not touch face.

IHS providing mroe info so understand mesages of Nez and Lizer. Checking on elder. Working hard on getting those discharged come home and care contiues when return home.

much better time using Labcore testing and moved to Phx. See ngatives and pending are clearing up. ordering supplies for rapid testing. Rationing in need for patients and medical staff.

we are offering outside drive throughs. Special area for indivuals with respiratory issues. Limited visitors to one. We cannot test until get testing supplies. Stay home if not COVID-19 symtoms. There are some drive thru to pickup prescriptions.

IHS eipcenters in Navajo County, Apache County and eastern Navajo.

NAVAJO COMMANDER DAVE NEZ navajo will partially activate SAS planning. In route are N(% masks. Rest going out today. advised by state and cuonty that Navajo share of stockpile ready and we will make routes for transportation to location. supplies for IHS and 638 health facilites. in next week or so activate full SAS which expands across Navajo. Contacts being activated and resources, such as warehouse and worker. Quick update. Focus Chilchinbeto with Command Center in Kayenta. Morning briefing was good operation and contacting every member of Chilchinbeto for needs. Second day in full operation. We got good support from security, Navajo law enforcement, Rangers. again that is our concentration of cases and focus on that to minimize cases and trasnmission. also focusing on student lunches and message on social distancing. SAS is national stock pile of medical supplies and deliver to states and then to counties. Navajo ID their amount for distribution to our locations.

PRESIDENT NEZ as big as we are we continue COVID-19 team meeting 9 am and states and county, IHS, many others call in, We have leadership meetings Tueday and Fridays with three branches. KTNN radio forums Tuesday and Thurday 6 pm to update Navajo people. We are doing very best to inform public but need accurate info.

STARTING QUESTIONS Shaudeen from Arizona Republic – you are still tracing. CHRISTIANSEN no conclusion from first event but lot of tracing and show at same gatherings. Second and Third tracing ongoing so have pretty good map for peremeter. people travel lot and trveled before travel ban so go back befoer 14 days where initially contacted COVID-19.

REMA WITH NAVAJO TIMES couple of questions but first thank you for all doing. there are questions regarding number of cases and tracking. i covered IHS presentatin to Council last friday and they said concerned abuot rumor mill so suggest, send us really brief updates with numbers and i nkow director Tso said numbers reflecting 12 IHS hosptail and when include 639 and other health centers. Heard switching to counties. People really wanat those numbers. PRESIDENT NEZ thank you Rema and this is Jonathan. we are 29 positive cases and our team out there doing investigation to find residents. we have members of Navajo all over the world. we want to focus on residents of Navajo. there is one Navajo living along border town. We are linking to develop ma with service maps. With federal patient privacy law, have to protect residence. and with Chilchinbeto they kind of told on each other. State is verifying those numbers for Navajo Nation. Same number county wide is what we use for Navajo Nation, meaning not in additinal. There is some confusion but same numbers county using. IHS CHEIF MEDICAL OFFICER CHRISTIANSEN numbers challenging cuz dealint wiht outside labs and got some reports with erros. try keep date clean and Epicenter best nubmers. we would like to see all numbers same so giving correct information. REMA include media in updates.

NOEL SMITH WITH DAILY TIMES followup question regarding cases, so counts from IHS hospitals to county numbers. How deal with counties that not on Navajo rez? PRESIDENT NEZ epidemiologoy report and if county number but Navajo member, then report and why working with county health departments and state departments. NAVAJO HEALTH DEPT JILL JIM, Phd. navajo epideminology verifies Navajo member so hear positive case at IHS hospital which we verify with county and state and not want individual testing positive stigmatized. Heard cases Shiprock and Gallup where treated at hosoital and they don’t live there. NOEL SMITH so are they identifying that individual lives in county.

REPORTER how long will $4 million last and where is funding going. Controller working on getting money out. Navajo Incident Commander Dave Nez give breakdown. DAVE NEZ some purchases this morning and as priority identified then pushing out expenditure documentation and purchase with Navajo government credit cards. We will also pick up suppl;ies and mateial where ever fuond. PRESIDENT NEZ our navajo first reponsders need protective gear and clothing. I had to give my hand sanitizer to emergnecy medical technicians. activated 25 wildlife, environmental protection rangers and giving police commissin to enforce navajo law and many in Chilchinbeto, if want to call epicenter.

MESA ARIZONA NEWSPAPER REPORTER what do you say to Navajos living off rez wanting to help. PRESIDENT NEZ we received many questions here at Incident Command Center. Stay home. families concerned about loved ones. there are organizations accepting funding for Navajo but be careful where donate. we will donate organizations for people to donate money. people wroking with command center and they delivered food to kayenta and first responders wiht training, handed out care packages. appreciate Navajo living off rez to be careful and not infect most vulnerable.

NAVAJO TIMES DONOVAN QUINTERO how much of $4M going to reservation nursing homes/senior centers. NAPI, NHA, many enterprises stepping up but focus is Chilchinbeto, pretty much under lock down. When get purchases, most protective equipment. Working with organizations to gather food. Arizona considering expanding closure. Navajo in first three weeks of self isolation. and grandmas and grandpas gettings social service assistance so preparing for them to shop safely. those are things talking and thinking about. INCIDENT COMMANDER DAVE NEZ we do haver fundng breakdown by tribal divisions. we are monitoring nursing homes and Navajo sneior patients off rez. No report on their own emergency lock down plans.

JARD TUOCHIN limit one question reporter

REP[ORTER, HOW MANY 29 CASES HOSPITALIZED AND WHERE AND WHAT DOES HOSPITAL LOOK LIKE? CHRISTIANSEN we use facilities in Alb and NM so not gong to any specific hospital. we typically transfer patients off rez when need higher level of care. Everyone have finite capacity but looking at carefully and developed overflow and contingency plan for GIMC, Chinle..13 ICU bed, 28 ventiflators not counting transporation and Emervny. over 50 isolation bed but COVID treament not required. We do have a plan that exends to three tier.

ASSOCIATED PRESS – tracking Chilchinbeto and reported that came from gathering. CHRISTIANSEN not broke down by specific event, close commun ity. NUMBER ONLY IHS and WHEN 638 AND OTHER FACILITES 29 are direct federal. Nez and Antone Nez working on all.

INDIAN COUNTRY, JORDAN – how delivering care packages especially in making sure that the people delivering care packages do not spread COVID-19? PRESIDENT NEZ people delivering care packages have been properly trained. INCIDENT COMMANDER DAVE NEZ repeats what president nez says.


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