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Healthcare systems, families strained as COVID-19 cases continue to rise on the Navajo Nation

As cases continue to rise on the Navajo Nation, despite increased restrictions, it’s straining the healthcare system and local families.

Communities in Northern Arizona are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus in the state. As cases continue to rise on the Navajo Nation, despite increased restrictions, it’s straining the healthcare system and local families.

“I think people just unfortunately don’t know that this is how people live in this country,” Yolanda Tso said.

Tso has family living on the Navajo Nation.

“How can you wash your hands for 20 seconds when you might need that water later to drink or you might need that water later to bathe in or to even cook your food,” Tso said.

The Navajo Nation is facing water issues on top of shortages for necessary items like paper towels soap and more.

Tso said her mother has had to drive an hour and a half to find supplies, only to come back empty handed. Leaving Tso trying to gather supplies for her family, but the curfew has meant she can’t get the items to them.

“There is nothing worse than knowing that you are not only bound by your ability to get resources but you’re also bound by time,” Tso said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Severe cases on the Navajo Nation are being transported over to Flagstaff Medical Center.

“We are significantly impacted,” Josh Tinkle, Chief Administrative Officer for Flagstaff Medical Center said.

“We have been quite busy and the majority of our patients over the past week have been COVID positive,” Dr. Derek Feuquay, Chief Medical Officer for Flagstaff Medical Center said.

The reported death toll from COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation rising again this week, leaving Tso concerned.

“When you have an inter-dependent culture like this one, death is felt so strongly through the community,” Tso said.

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