COVID-19 in Arizona today: Navajo Nation sounds alarm as cases jump to 49

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PHOENIX – Cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation Reservation have risen to 49, up from the 29 reported Monday by the Navajo Department of Health. Forty-three cases are in the Arizona part of the reservation, according to the Navajo Epidemiology Center.

Although Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has not yet ordered a shelter-in-place for the state, Navajo leadership on Monday called on its members to stay at home in Arizona and elsewhere, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“To prevent a massive public health crisis, every person must remain home,” tribal President Johnathan Nez said, the Navajo Times reports.

As of Wednesday, March 25, Arizona health officials reported 401 cases of COVID-19 in Arizona and six deaths. The state public health lab has tested 368 people for the illness and ruled out 323. More tests are being conducted at private labs, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Food insecurity issues addressed

The federal government should make temporary changes to food assistance programs to combat food insecurity caused by the coronavirus, Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday. “We want these resources to be easy to access and available for all who need them,” he said in a news release.

The requested change to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often called food stamps) would allow eligible families to purchase hot meals from grocery stores and provide the maximum amount of support available for two months. The change also would allow state officials to approve applications without eligibility interviews, which Ducey’s office says would speed up distribution of benefits to those in need.

15 confirmed cases at Arizona State University

ASU President Michael Crow confirmed Tuesday that 15 ASU students have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in an interview with The State Press. A portion of these cases are from students who were part of a trip to New York City, according to ABC15. Some of the students reportedly exhibited symptoms. Test results for other students on that trip are pending.

Doctor tests positive for COVID-19 at Phoenix Children’s

Phoenix Children’s Hospital officials, in a tweet Wednesday morning, confirmed that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The doctor works at an ambulatory clinic operated by the hospital and began exhibiting symptoms Friday evening. The doctor has been in self-isolation, the hospital’s official statement said, and it’s unlikely the virus was spread to anyone else.

A million masks for Arizona

Ducey announced Tuesday that Arizona is partnering with the Verstandig Foundation to provide up to 1 million N-95 face masks and other equipment for health care workers in Arizona. The first 250,000 masks should be delivered within 10 days.

Eight tips on coronavirus from a scientist

“Dr. Germ,” otherwise known as microbiologist Charles Gerba, spoke with Cronkite News about things to know about the coronavirus – from how to effectively wipe down counters to the magic of microfiber. His work at the University of Arizona is focusing on the power of disinfectants in fighting the virus.

How to help: Donate blood

Arizonans can help those affected by COVID-19 by making an appointment to donate blood or non-perishable food items at Karl’s Quality Bakery in Phoenix on Friday, March 27. The drives are being hosted by state Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, and other community leaders for Desert Mission Food Bank and Vitalant. To sign up for an appointment at the blood drive or to find one near you, visit

Sustainability Reporter, Los Angeles