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Navajo Nation reports 203 new COVID-19 cases, 7 more deaths

December 13, 2020 GMT

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials have reported 203 new COVID-19 cases and seven more deaths as they implement a weekend-long lockdown for reservation residents.

As of Saturday night, the tribe has now reported 19,420 cases and 718 known deaths since the pandemic began.

Navajo Department of Health officials said more than 181,000 people on the vast reservation that includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah have been tested for COVID-19 and over 10,000 have recovered.

The lockdown that began at 8 p.m. Friday will require everyone on the reservation except essential workers to stay at home. All businesses are required to remain closed until the locldown ends at 5:30 a.m. Monday.

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Tribal officials have said nearly all intensive care unit beds on the reservation are being used as COVID-19 cases surge.

They warn that the tribe is nearing a point where health care workers will have to make difficult decisions about providing care with limited hospital resources.

The tribe has extended its stay-at-home order though Dec. 28 in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.