Navajo Nation expands use of isolation sites as ICU beds near capacity

Dec 7, 2020, 2:55 PM | Updated: 4:18 pm
Navajo CARES...
Monument Valley is a prominent Navajo Nation landmark. (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz.— Navajo Nation officials say nearly all intensive care unit (ICU) beds throughout its region are occupied as COVID-19 cases surge; to avoid forcing health care workers to limit care because of reduced resources, they plan to open various isolation sites.

“Recently, Navajo Area IHS (Indian Health Services) reported that some of their intensive care units, ICU’s, are at full capacity and other bed space is also filling up quickly due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases recently,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. 

Additionally, Nez said there are few options to transport patients to other regional hospitals that are near full capacity.

Opening isolation sites in Navajo country to mitigate shortage of ICU beds 

The Navajo Nation announced Monday it will open isolation sites for residents who test positive for COVID-19; those awaiting test results can also use the sites. Affected residents can isolate themselves in hotels or at these alternative care sites to prevent passing along the virus. 

“If you’re positive for COVID-19 and don’t want to risk spreading the virus to those that live under the same roof as you, please strongly consider self-isolating at one of these hotel isolation sites,” Nez said. 

The Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center (HCOC) opened multiple isolation sites around the region, including operations in Chinle, Arizona, and Gallup and Farmington, New Mexico. Other sites will open in Tuba City and Holbrook, Arizona. 

“Isolation is key to slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in our homes and communities,” explained Vice President Myron Lizer. “We certainly need more people to volunteer to be isolated due to the overwhelming of our hospital facilities on the Navajo Nation.”

Each isolation facility will provide clinical observation and monitoring of COVID-19 positive individuals. 

In order to be admitted, residents must receive a referral from a clinician, a public health nurse, a community health representative, or a social worker. Any of those professionals can call the COVID-19 Coordination Center at 1-844-935-3932 to make the referral.

As an additional step to help limit the spread and prevent further hospitalizations, the nation extended its stay-at-home order. Currently, 77 Navajo Nation communities are experiencing the “uncontrollable” spread of COVID-19, according to the Navajo Health Department. 


“As we continue to experience bed capacity concerns, we must make available safe isolation options for those living in multigenerational homes, living with a person with underlying health conditions, sharing a room and bathroom. We must do all we can do to protect our health care workers, high risk families, and especially our elders,” said Dr. Jill Jim. 

Related: Heart of Utah: Navajo Strong


Today’s Top Stories

All News

Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan and NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A man was rescued from the New York subway tracks by good Samaritan and police just moments before a track arrived.
1 day ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
1 day ago
Police in Roy are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afte...
Mark Jones

Vehicle collides with unoccupied building in Roy, no injuries

Roy Police are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afternoon. The driver was arrested after fleeing the scene.
1 day ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
1 day ago
Dozens of residents were displaced after fire at a low income apartment complex in Richfield, Utah....
Mark Jones

American Red Cross of Utah seeks volunteers in central Utah

The American Red Cross of Utah is seeking volunteers in central Utah after a fire in Richfield earlier this week displaced 35 families.
1 day ago
Groundbreaking dates for four temples in Latin America have been announced this week by the First P...
Mark Jones

First Presidency issues 2022 Christmas message

A Christmas message was released Friday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Navajo Nation expands use of isolation sites as ICU beds near capacity