NM Governor fights for COVID-19 aid for tribal nations

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham raised alarms with President Donald Trump Monday about “incredible spikes” in coronavirus cases in Navajo Nation, warning that the virus could “wipe out” some tribal nations, according to a recording of a call between Trump and the nation’s governors obtained by ABC News.

“I’m very worried, Mr. President,” Governor Lujan Grisham said, as she followed up on a request she made to the Department of Defense last Wednesday for a 248-bed U.S. Army combat support hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Grisham told Trump she had not yet received a response.

“The rate of infection, at least on the New Mexico side — although we’ve got several Arizona residents in our hospitals — we’re seeing a much higher hospital rate, a much younger hospital rate, a much quicker go-right-to-the-vent rate for this population. And we’re seeing doubling in every day-and-a-half,” she said.

Wow, that’s something,” the president replied.

She added: “And it could wipe out those tribal nations.”

New Mexican tribal nations waited almost a week for an answer to Governor Lujan’s request for aid from the Feds. Trump got back to her this afternoon [Tuesday, 31st], saying, he’d approved a “field hospital” for the Navajo Nation and others in the state.

That was announced by the governor, Tuesday afternoon. No one, yet, has any info if this is supposed to be the Combat Support Hospital in Albuquerque…or something else.

9 thoughts on “NM Governor fights for COVID-19 aid for tribal nations

  1. Heads up says:

    New Mexico: “Governor, administration prepare for coronavirus ‘surge’” https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2020/04/01/governor-administration-prepare-for-coronavirus-surge/?mc_cid=5602c3349f&mc_eid=4b85ca587f
    “…A widely shared model from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that the state will hit its peak amount of COVID-19 cases on May 2, which would require 1,594 hospital beds and 239 beds in intensive care units. The model predicts a total amount of 529 deaths from COVID-19 in New Mexico, with a peak of 16 daily COVID-19 deaths on April 29.
    Dr. David Scrase, the secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department, said that the University of Washington model was a best-case scenario and based on old data. The New Mexico models are more of a “serious case scenario, because we need to plan for the most serious case scenario,” he said.

    “Coronavirus May Kill 100,000 to 240,000 in U.S. Despite Actions, Officials Say” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/us/politics/coronavirus-death-toll-united-states.html

    However, “assuming a 1% mortality rate from the coronavirus, and 50% of the US population becoming infected, about 1.5 million Americans could die. …In February, disease modelers from the CDC suggested between 160 million and 214 million Americans could be infected, and as many as 1.7 million could die.” https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-150-million-americans-may-get-infected-2020-3

  2. Bilagáana says:

    ‘We could get wiped out’: American Indians have the highest rates of diseases that make covid-19 more lethal : Conditions in Indian Country are ripe for a rapid spread of the coronavirus. Rates of infection among Navajos is a major concern. https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/04/04/native-american-coronavirus/
    “American Indians have a dark history with infectious disease, dating back hundreds of years. In the last century, the 1918 flu struck the group four times harder than the general population, according to a 2014 study published in American Indian Quarterly. At least 3,200 died, including 72 of 80 residents at the Inupiat village of Brevig Mission, Alaska, according to the National Institutes of Health.
    Tribes “suffered hideously,” the study said, citing reports from the time. “The Navajos’ situation of 1918-19 was an almost perfect storm.” Considering the conditions that made them vulnerable, the researchers said, “it is remarkable not that so many of them were lost but that so many survived.”
    Conditions a century ago were similar to what exist today in Indian Country: multigenerational families living in close quarters, struggling with poverty, poor nutrition and underfunded health-care programs.”

    “The Influenza Epidemic of 1918–1920 among the Navajos: Marginality, Mortality, and the Implications of Some Neglected Eyewitness Accounts.” American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Fall 2014), pp. 459-491 https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5250/amerindiquar.38.4.0459#metadata_info_tab_contents

  3. Ąą dahazʼą́. says:

    (Arizona): A school on Navajo Nation stayed open. Then people started showing symptoms. https://www.propublica.org/article/a-school-on-navajo-nation-stayed-open-then-people-started-showing-symptoms
    The virus spread quickly through Navajo Nation, which stretches across parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico and has a population of more than 330,000, though not every citizen lives on the reservation.
    Tribal leaders confirmed the first positive case, a 46-year-old patient from Chilchinbeto, Arizona, on March 17. The community of about 1,000 people, now considered the epicenter of the coronavirus on the Navajo Nation, was the first on the reservation to receive a shelter-in-place order. Navajo County, which includes Chilchinbeto, has 149 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the highest of the eight counties on the reservation.
    As of Monday evening, the tribe had confirmed 384 cases of the novel coronavirus.
    Fifteen people died after contracting the virus, which has been especially deadly in the reservation’s small, remote communities. It has preyed on the tribe’s elderly population and on residents who are all but cut off from health care facilities and other essential services.
    “COVID-19 cases and deaths are growing at a very alarming rate on the Navajo Nation,” Jonathan Nez, the Navajo Nation president, said in a statement on Monday.
    Shaken by the rapid spread, tribal leaders have tried to shut down the entire reservation, implementing a nighttime curfew and banning all nonessential travel this coming weekend. Police will fine residents who violate the order.

    Navajo Times | Apr 6, 2020 | CORONAVIRUS UPDATES
    The following map shows where the coronavirus exists on the Navajo Nation. This map will be updated as information becomes available. Hover over, tap or click the map markers for expanded information. https://navajotimes.com/coronavirus-updates/covid-19-across-the-navajo-nation/
    Cases of people testing positive on the Navajo Nation has risen to 426 as of Monday night. Deaths have increased to 17, as of Tuesday evening.
    On the Hopi reservation, 11 confirmed cases have been reported.

  4. Norteño says:

    “How New Mexico Jump Started Aggressive COVID-19 Testing” https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/new-mexico-covid-19-testing
    “In much of the country, even those with COVID-19 symptoms are struggling to get tested for the virus. But in New Mexico, an extremely rural and low income state, the governor announced last week that certain residents without symptoms can now get tested.
    New Mexico’s expansion of its testing eligibility — which now allows testing for asymptomatic people who are exposed to COVID-19 or who live in group living facilities like nursing homes — is a testament to how quickly the state was able to scale up its testing.
    Until last week, only New York, Washington and Louisiana were turning around more tests on a per capita basis than New Mexico, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. A few other states have since caught up, but New Mexico has remained in the top 10 — a remarkable achievement for a state where four-in-10 residents live under 200 percent of the federal poverty line.”

  5. Update says:

    The Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder in Pojoaque will serve as a temporary quarantine facility for New Mexico tribal members who are awaiting test results for COVID-19.
    Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. Joseph Talachy said in a text message Wednesday (April 8) the hotel is only accepting “low-risk” members of New Mexico pueblos and tribes who have been referred by the state Department of Health.
    “Our goal is to prevent virus spread and reduce risk to tribal families by providing tribal members with potential illness, who are referred by DOH, a comfortable, safe place to stay,” Talachy said in a statement. “Buffalo Thunder Resort is an ideal housing solution for this emergency situation.”
    The announcement came as state health officials reported three more deaths and 72 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday.
    On the Navajo Nation, where 15 people have died and hundreds have been infected, the tribe will implement a 57-hour curfew this weekend.
    “One death is way too many,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said Tuesday. “This is a public health emergency.” https://www.taosnews.com/stories/hilton-santa-fe-buffalo-thunder-pojoaque-self-isolation-site-temporary-quarantine-facility-new-mexico-tribal-members-coronavirus,63288

  6. Chimayóso says:

    New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said her state is facing unique challenges posed by responding to the coronavirus pandemic in Native American communities. https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/492408-new-mexico-governor-says-state-faces-unique-challenges-responding-to
    The governor said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that as of a couple of days ago, 25 percent of New Mexico’s positive COVID-19 cases were Native American.
    “Some of these areas, particularly in Navajo nation, you’re in a situation where you’ve got folks living without access to water and electricity and this creates unique challenges,” Lujan Grisham said.
    Six percent of New Mexico’s population is Native American with 23 distinct sovereign nations, she said.
    See also “1993 Four Corners hantavirus outbreak” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Four_Corners_hantavirus_outbreak Also, 80% of United States plague cases have been the bubonic form and although plague is a rare disease, about half of US cases each year occur in New Mexico.

  7. Update says:

    A coronavirus variant first identified in Britain has been found on the Navajo Nation, tribal health officials said Tuesday.
    The United Kingdom strain was confirmed in a sample obtained in the western part of the reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. It has been detected throughout the United States.
    The Navajo Department of Health is working with states and other public health agencies to identify any more variant cases, Navajo President Jonathan Nez said.
    …The person who tested positive for the variant on the Navajo Nation had been fully vaccinated. The person was hospitalized and is recovering, said Jill Jim, the tribe’s health director. Contract tracing determined the variant did not spread beyond that person, she said.

  8. Update says:

    “The Navajo Nation’s tribal council has voted to send $2,000 checks to each qualified adult and $600 for each child using $557 million in federal coronavirus relief funds.
    The council’s vote to send the checks to about 350,000 tribal members was approved Thursday by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.
    Wednesday’s 18-2 vote during a special session of the tribe’s lawmaking body will tap some of the approximately $2.1 billion the tribe is receiving from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act. The payments will be automatically sent to tribal members living on or off the reservation who applied for relief funds under a previous round of hardship assistance payments.” https://fronterasdesk.org/content/1744476/relief-funds-approved-navajo-nation-tribe-members
    “Almost one-third (29%) of persons living in families on the Navajo Nation live in poverty, twice the rate of families living in poverty in the State of Arizona (13%), for example.More than one-third of all persons over age 65 (39%) also live in poverty, five times higher that the State of Arizona (8%) for this age group. Poverty rates are consistent for Navajo Nation tribal members residing in all three states [Arizona, New Mexico and Utah].
    Per capita Income on the Navajo Nation ($10,695) is half the per capita income for the State of Arizona ($25,680). Per capita income is consistent on the Navajo Nation across all three states, at about $10,000/year. https://gotr.azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/navajo_nation_0.pdf

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