Coronavirus cases steadily increase in Tribal Nations, leaders respond with lockdowns

- In this July 28, 2020, file photo, people wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at Cesar Chavez City Park in Phoenix. Arizona hospital officials are pleading with people to avoid large Thanksgiving dinners as soaring coronavirus infections put pressure on the state's medical system. Banner Health forecasts it will hit 125 percent of its licensed capacity around Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)

Native American tribes in the Southwest are seeing a steady rise in Covid-19 cases. Tribal leaders are responding. The White Mountain Apache Tribe has ordered a 72-hour lockdown on Thursday when the number of new COVID-19 cases reached its highest level since July.

According to AZCentral, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases has been increasing among the White Mountain Apache tribe since late October, after nearly two months of reporting little to no new daily casesIn June, the tribe had more Coronavirus cases per capita than the Navajo Nation, meaning they had some of the highest rates of coronavirus in the country. A total of 40 new COVID-19 cases was reported in the past three days, triggering its upcoming 72-hour weekend lockdown. The tribe recently changed its threshold for lockdown recently.

On Thursday the Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez extended a stay-at-home order through at least Dec. 27. According to the Navajo Department of Health, the seven day average for coronavirus cases is 194. The Navajo Nation has had restrictive measures in place since March, including a mask mandate and daily curfews. Essential businesses are required to limit their hours to between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The White Mountain Apache Tribe reported 24 new Covid cases Thursday, the most since July 20. The highest number of cases ever reported was 223 on June 25, right as the rest of the state was surging in cases. The press release states that residents were required to remain home during the lockdown except when going to and from work or seeking medical attention. Residents are also asked to limit social interaction and continue to practice social distancing when around others.

Photo Credit: White Mountain Apache Tribe Facebook